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How To Get People To Buy Into Your Dumb + Horrible Ideas

A basic primer on communications, persuasion, and sounding like an honest-to-god human.

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How To Get People To Buy Into Your Dumb + Horrible Ideas

  1. 1. How To Get People To Buy Into Your Dumb + Horrible Ideas A Cool Communications Primer By Nate Walsh (Age 29)
  2. 2. Hi, I’m Nate. ! I work in advertising + marketing. And I am single. I can’t imagine why.
  3. 3. Why That Matters • My whole life is devoted to selling people on things they don’t necessarily like or care about. - Like chicken broth, cataract surgery equipment, or my face, brain, and body.
  4. 4. Advertising + Marketing gets a pretty shady reputation – so does being a single dude, for that matter – so, how do I do {moderately} well at those things WITHOUT feeling like a totally horrible person? Literally the only 2 shows I watch.
  5. 5. HINT: It is not because I am evil. I think? Yeah, I’d watch this movie.
  6. 6. Well, I am going to give you the “one weird trick” to my success. Discovered by a mom!! :0
  7. 7. R U READY 4 IT?? Goggles on, everybody!
  8. 8. I communicate like an actual human being. *pause for gasps* This is how humans do it, right? ! Table, laughing, drinks, so on?
  9. 9. This does not seem like super crazy, game-changing advice, but you would be surprised how many people are terrible at sounding like a person when they’ve decided to capital-C Communicate something. “And here’s why you should you should vote for me.”
  10. 10. "I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we are able to build up our future." For example…
  11. 11. It’s like they think, “What I’m trying to do is different and important. I guess I’d better try and sound different and important, too.” No. Don’t do that. Stop. Quit it. ! Knock it off.
  12. 12. Oh, you’re cheating on me? How grand! I don’t care if you’re writing a paper, selling a business, debating with a colleague, or hitting on someone. ! In the end, you are totally just one human talking to another.
  13. 13. So… uh… ! How do humans communicate, anyway? Like this. Exactly like this.
  14. 14. That sounds like a dumb question, but people have a harder time with it than you’d think. (Plus, I have like 20 minutes to fill, so let’s get into it some.)
  15. 15. 1. Consider Your Audience. Like, For Reals, Though. Particularly the moron in front there.
  16. 16. • Lots of people, when they’re communicating, have a reaaaaal chip on their shoulder about what they’re saying and how much other people should be caring about it. • Like, “I took the time to do this or say this or write this, so you automatically should care about it.” I’m IMPORTANT, okay? My words are IMPORTANT.
  17. 17. Uh, nope.
  18. 18. Listen. I make my living as a writer, and here is the main thing I have learned: ! ! ! ! ! No one wants to read anything I have written. Ever. Ever ever ever. People hate reading. They hate it all to hell.
  19. 19. And, even if they do read what I wrote, it’s certainly not just because I took the time and energy to write it. Even if I do look damn good doing it.
  20. 20. I <3 People • Humans, on the whole, are fairly selfish, easily distracted creatures. ! • Whatever you present to them, they’re gonna wanna know what’s in it for them. ! • And if they don’t spot it right away, they’re gonna wander off in search of something shinier. (Crows are much the same way.)
  21. 21. So, you have to give them a reason to care.
  22. 22. • Jokes • Compelling Facts • Funny Cat Photos • New or Interesting Ideas And that reason can be a lot of things: • Boobs • An Emotional Connection (See: Boobs) • Beautiful Language • Free Sandwich
  23. 23. Ask yourself, “If I were a stranger reading / hearing / looking at what I’m communicating here, would I care about what I was saying?” Basically, I’m talking about EMPATHY. If not, then you have some work to do.
  24. 24. So. I made this craigslist ad for my shitty car that went the teensiest bit viral.
  25. 25. I knew the car itself was not very good or interesting, so I had to do stuff to make people stick with the ad. Jokes and drunken 2nd grader construction paper art, in this instance.
  26. 26. 2. Tell A ! (Memorable) Story Some called him visionary. Some called him rebel. But most called him… THE ENTERTAINER!!!!!!
  27. 27. OK, let us assume that you considered your audience enough that they stuck through for the whole communication. Yay!
  28. 28. ! ! (Sorry to keep pooping on your hard work and dreams.) How much of it do you think they are going to recall after that fact? Answer: Very, very little. Hm, something about math?
  29. 29. So, how do we take control and help people remember? ! We turn our communication into a story. Not this story, necessarily. But a story.
  30. 30. People like stories. • It’s how we’ve been keeping ourselves entertained since caveman days. • It’s why there are so many movies featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. • It’s how I get anyone to make out with me ever. (Ask me the one about Rain Wolf.)
  31. 31. Let’s pretend we’re selling something – a smartphone, say. This is the only one I can afford, you guys :((((((
  32. 32. You could try and sell it based on details. • So much RAM. People love RAM. RAM RAM RAM. • 4G! LTE! Other letters that mean things! • How many photos of cats will it hold? 27,000. • It has 4 buttons. That is a great number of buttons to have. RAM RAM RAM
  33. 33. OR you could try and sell it by telling a story about it. • THIS is a magical space-brick that fits in your pocket and will allow you to do pretty much anything you want – anywhere, anytime. Holy balls, this phone!
  34. 34. Which of those is more likely to stick? Yes, it’s a glue pun. Yes, I look like a horse’s ass. Let’s move on.
  35. 35. Details won’t stick, but a story can, because it’s just shallow enough.
  36. 36. So. Whatever you’re trying to communicate something, always start with the one big story you want people to walk away with. It should be like a sentence, tops. The cat! He’s fat and hates Mondays!
  37. 37. The idea is to come up with something cool and memorable enough that your audience will remember it – and hopefully act on it in some way, too (sharing it with others, buying your product, coming around to your way of thinking, etc.) Short, simple, compelling. Like him.
  38. 38. “part of the magic of this smartphone is how great the camera is at taking artsy pictures of the food you’ve ordered,” etc. By The By There can totally be sub-stories that you tell in service of your main story – – but it should all lead back to the main story, because that’s probably all anyone is going to remember, anyway.
  39. 39. OK, let’s look at my dumb car ad again. • The main story was, “This car is kind of terrible, but its quirks actually make it interesting and awesome.” • There are sub-stories – for example: “This car comes with a lot of free, terrible shit” – but they still are only there to support that one main story.
  40. 40. 3. Be Genuinely Excited I said “excited,” not “douchey.”
  41. 41. • So, you know those people who are always like, “Oh, man, I’m so good at bullshitting. I write the best bullshit papers. I’m such a great bullshitter. Bullshit bullshit bullshit.” • Yeah. 2 things: 1) Pretty much everyone can tell what you’re doing. 2) No one is even the least bit impressed. • Sorry, killing more dreams, aren’t I.
  42. 42. Do you know what does impress people and get them excited and believing what you have to say? Enthusiasm. Sincerity. Honesty.
  43. 43. One of my favorite bands of all time is called Harry and the Potters. They are 2 brothers who dress up as Harry Potter and only sing songs about Harry Potter, in character as Harry Potter. Yeah.
  44. 44. They are huge dorks, they aren’t very talented musically, and they mostly play for children in libraries.
  45. 45. That said, they are so pumped to be on-stage playing for people that you can sense their excitement – and you get excited, too. I have never danced more at any concert.
  46. 46. But, you can’t fake excitement. ! ! ! ! You have to mean it. Know what I mean?
  47. 47. It’s like that old saying: If you want to sell someone on something, sell yourself first. ! Or, if I were saying it: If you aren’t excited, goddamn get excited. Find things to be excited about. Maybe not this excited. Yikers.
  48. 48. I Have Sold Some Lame- Sounding Shit In My Time • “Dry eye” drops (not a real disease), artificial sweetener, chicken broth, recycling services, cooking oil, my friend Will’s OK Cupid profile • But, I could do so honestly + enthusiastically, because I allowed myself to get excited about certain aspects of what I was selling. • “Wow, this really is some great fucking chicken broth. How did they do that?”
  49. 49. There really is something cool or unique or fascinating about every single thing out there. ! Find it, get excited about it, and you can get others excited about it as well. 2 excited friends.
  50. 50. Don’t B.S. – B.Lieve in what you are saying and B.Enthusiastic. In summation: ! Yes, I went there, with those stupid B puns. Shoot me now.
  51. 51. Again, looking at the Tanry ad… • Let’s be honest: The car was not great. But I legitimately appreciated its not-greatness. I was fond of all its quirks and oddities, and people could sense that fondness in how I spoke about the car – even as I was making fun of the thing.
  52. 52. 4. Communicate Conversationally
  53. 53. 4. Communicate Conversationally TALK LIKE A HUMAN BEING
  54. 54. Again, when some people are trying to capital-C Communicate, they seem to feel this weird pressure to make the language they use sound more official, somehow.
  56. 56. Trying to sound all fancy pants really just ups your chances of sounding pretentious or cold or weird or indecipherable. “Let’s synergize the paradigm, y’all!”
  57. 57. I have this startup client, and when I was first getting to know them, I was like, “OK, describe your product for me.” For instance:
  58. 58. I’ll give them this: They were efficient. ! They sprinted through 6 slides of jargon-packed chaos in about 45 seconds. ! “Annnnnd that’s our product.”
  59. 59. To which I replied, “I have no earthly idea what your product is or does.” “Something with wires, maybe?”
  60. 60. Once we went back through and I had them unpack each of those jargon-filled sentences, I found out they actually had a pretty cool, compelling story. ! Just – no one could possibly get that from the way they were telling it.
  61. 61. Aim to communicate at a level where a 5th grader could get what you’re talking about. And maybe not a particularly smart 5th grader at that.
  62. 62. Avoid big words and buzzwords.
  63. 63. Don’t try to sound like a robot. Emotion registered. Initiating hug.
  64. 64. Talk like you would talk to a friend on the phone about the same thing (if you’re not weirdly terrified about using the phone like me, I mean). Oh no! A friend wants to talk to me!
  65. 65. But, even more than that, allow your humanity to shine through. I’m not sure what this is, but it is exactly what I mean.
  66. 66. Make things personal (but not too personal). ! Tell jokes, relate things to your own experiences, show basic human emotion. Perhaps not THIS much emotion.
  67. 67. I’m not saying you have to be all wacky-pants and tell a joke a minute and relate the story where you got all messed up on gin and took your clothes off. Not that this ever happened to me or anything.
  68. 68. Be professional. ! Be an adult. ! Be aware of others’ feelings. Just… be a little human, too. A little human.
  69. 69. People don’t want to talk to some Shakespearean business poet. ! People want to connect with other people, and when you put that effort in, they want to put in more effort with you. Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well on LinkedIn.
  70. 70. In my car ad, it could probably be argued that I was being too human, admitting weird personal things and shouting inappropriate jokes. You probably shouldn’t be doing that in your big business pitches or whatever, but a little humanity never hurt.
  71. 71. 5. Be Confident, Not Arrogant
  72. 72. • I am not a very confident person. I am pretty terrible about meeting new people. And you should watch me try and ask someone out on a date. It’s hilarious / mortifying. • That said, I have to pitch work to clients all the time. Also, I regularly get on stage and sing terrible karaoke songs. • So, what’s the deal? How do we reconcile these 2 Nate Walshes? Charmer.
  73. 73. Alcohol, obviously.
  74. 74. But besides that, I am able to do some of those things because I am confident in what I am selling – confident in my experience with advertising and marketing stuff, confident in the work and research I’d put in, confident in my ability to perform the hell out of R. Kelly’s “Ignition.” (I really am quite good at it.)
  75. 75. What do we mean by “confidence,” though, anyway? Not whatever this is, that’s for sure.
  76. 76. Confidence vs. Arrogance • Confidence is the belief in yourself (or what you’re selling) that comes from knowing the facts, knowing what’s awesome about what you’re selling, and knowing that what you have to offer is worth the other person’s time. • Arrogance is the belief in yourself (or what you’re selling) that stretches beyond those facts, or that somehow exists despite the complete absence of any support or evidence.
  77. 77. A confident person believes in themselves with good reason. ! An arrogant person believes in themselves for no good reason.
  78. 78. We want to be confident when we communicate, but not arrogant. ! So, how do we do that?
  79. 79. By following the previous steps, of course!
  80. 80. If you… • Have gathered the facts and found things to be excited about • Have turned those exciting things into a good story • Can communicate that story in a relatable human way • Are doing this at least in part for the good of your audience
  81. 81. Then you are doing everything right, and you totally should be confident. This guy probably shouldn’t be that confident, but OK.
  82. 82. Hooray! Now go do everything I just told you. This has nothing to do with anything. I just loooooove horse photos.
  83. 83. Okay, that is literally everything I know. • You can ask questions, but I probably won’t be able to answer any of them for you. • Feel free to get in touch, though: • Thanks for mostly listening!