Brains really should come with an owner’s manual.
I’ve known my brain all my life and you’d think I would have figured out how to make it do the things I want it to do like think up a new idea on the spot, make a list of creative solutions to a problem or simply GO TO SLEEP at night instead of going on and on about what happened at that meeting today and wondering where I put that sign-up sheet for cub scouts.
Your brain has a mind of its own and once you learn a few tips and tricks to how ALL of our brains work, you’ll be amazed at how much easier some things will become. For example:
Brains are positively programmed.
The best way to explain this is to say “Don’t think about a pink polka-dotted elephant flying over Paris.” Of course that’s EXACTLY what you did. Your mind conjured up exactly what I told you NOT to do. That’s because brains focus on nouns. The other words in the sentence just get relegated to the back burner. So, when you are writing marketing materials, focus on what your customer WANTS to see. When you are doing market planning, focus on the profile of customer you want. Focus on the efficiency levels you want. Focus on what the end result will LOOK like. This isn’t about empty “positive thinking,” it’s about writing and speaking in a language that your customer’s brain likes and can relate to.
Replace “How” with the phrase “In what ways” when you are trying to come up with great ideas.
Think about this. The word “How” is asking your brain for the best answer. That means that when you ask yourself “How am I going to get to the office?” Your mind will compute millions of variables and you will decide on the best way to get to the office that day. But if you were to ask “In what ways can I get to the office?” That is a completely different question. It will get your brain’s tail wagging to find as many interesting ways to get to the office as you have time and patience to generate. Just for kicks, replace the word “how” with “In what ways” and see how many interesting solutions you come up with to your challenge. In what ways can you increase sales? In what ways can you touch your customer today? In what ways can you increase productivity?
Talk to the little voice.
There are always twice as many conversations going on as there are people. There is the conversation that we can all hear, and then there is the conversation that’s going on between each of us and the little voice inside our head. If you really want to connect with your audience, you’ll start writing and talking to the little voice inside their head instead of the words coming out of their mouth.
One important thing about that voice, it speaks in the simplest terms, at a kindergarten level. When you use the word “solution” the little voice says “What is that? What are they talking about” when you use words like “in 30 minutes or less” the little voice says - “I can have one of those before the news starts!” Take some time every day and really pay attention to what words your little voice uses. Ask your friends what their little voice is saying. Note what you’re thinking and what words you are using and you will find that they are concrete, visual and emotional. Now use those words in your marketing.
Brains are funny and amazing things. Get to know your brain a little better and you’ll be amazed at the things that it can do for you and the creative growth of your business.
* * * * *
About the Author: Ivana Taylor has spent over 20 years helping industrial organizations and small business owners get and keep their ideal customers. Her company is Third Force and she writes a blog called Strategy Stew. She is co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers.”