Sunday, August 19, 2012
Censor Silly Sales Sayings
Oh, it doesn’t?
Okay, well that one was too easy. How about this one? “In life you need either inspiration or desperation.”
In a recent Twitter tweet addressed to business people, that epigram was attributed to motivational speaker Tony Robbins. (Actually, it was attributed to “Tony Robins,” but I’m figuring tweeting diverted the poster’s thoughts toward birds.)
The pithy epigram sounds appealing, but as advice, it’s not worth the time it takes to read it. Most experienced business professionals would spot that, and management science would back them up. Inspiration is great, but you’ll be more profitable without desperation.
Or how about this one attributed in a tweet to business author Stephen R. Covey: “The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Why does the internet fairly overflow with these useless sayings, and why do they sneak through our nonsense filter, even if momentarily?
It has to do with what media scientists call “drumbeats.” Rhythmic elements build credibility in the brain. Psychologists at Lafayette College found that rhythmically rhyming claims are more likely to be perceived as true than those that do not have this attribute.
Any Southern Baptist minister and most campaigning politicians could have told the scientists the value of rhyming jingles. The rhythm soothes our defenses, and the repetition of sounds lends the sort of familiarity we associate with truth.
There’s also another dynamic at work: The rhythm energizes us, and energy, even if expended in inefficient ways, can give us the perception of success.
However, the whole thing might turn ugly. Watch new swimmers. They’re able to get around with a mix and succession of quite random movements. As long as you have enough body fat, it will work. Until there’s a big wave or a riptide. Then all the random movement makes things worse. Tony Robbins’ advice notwithstanding, the last thing you’ll want is desperation. It could be deadly. You need skilled movements.
Refining high quality advice into a pithy mnemonic is a great skill. Admire it. In fact, valid epigrams inspire us to achieve greater profitability. There is always a place for rhythmic doses of reality. I’ll finish with this one from Despair, Inc.: “Quitters never win. Winners never quit. But those who never win and never quit are idiots.”
Click below for more:
Drum Up Interest with Drumbeats
Posted by Bruce D. Sanders, Ph.D. at 9:00 AM