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How To Hijack Your Reader’s Mind

How To Hijack Your Reader’s Mind


Ok, so less like Germany invading European countries, and more like bringing to life a rich inner world that will keep your audience enthralled and engaged.

In high school, I went to this couple-day jazz workshop festival thing every year. One year, there was a Grammy-winning pianist with a Santa Claus-like presence leading one of the workshops- white hair, white beard, rotund mid-section and jolly demeanor. He was wearing a polo shirt, short khaki cargo shorts and Ugg boots.

His name was Clare, and he intensely demonstrated some of the most innovative piano-playing I had ever heard- complex chords on top of chords that caused tension but somehow went together at the same time, without exactly clashing.

It felt like the piano was emoting in a very conflicted, almost human way, you know, like those bittersweet feelings when someone is breaking up with you who you know isn’t good for you and you’re relieved, upset, heartbroken, angry, nostalgic, and don’t want to let go but you know you’re ready to move on.

After the day’s workshop events, there was a concert. When Clare was up onstage, in the middle of a solo after a particularly interesting run, the jazz teacher from my high school contributed an emphatic “YEAH!” that I felt pretty well summed up the inspiration his playing was evoking within us attentive listeners.

So what’s the point of all this?

Show, don’t tell.

Let’s summarize what I’ve just written above.

The gist is: There was a guy at a jazz workshop and I liked his music and so did my teacher.

No one is going to remember those facts because they are boring. Vague.

But when I tell you someone we are both familiar with (Santa) who he reminded me of, and explain exactly what he was wearing, a mental picture forms. In this case, the traditional figure of Santa and the modern details of his attire (polo + Uggs) creates a memorable contrast.  And then I go into my interpretation of what I heard.

It’s not even a story that goes anywhere, but did it keep you engaged?

Wanna know the quick lil’ trick to take your writing from tiring to Technicolor™?

Tap into your 5 senses.

What were the sights/sounds/smells/tactile feelings? Were you eating or drinking anything at the time?

I know if you’re running a business, maybe these feel like superfluous details. But vivid storytelling is how you communicate something real. How you gain trust.

Your offers will sell when your audience trusts you and feels connected to you.

In the art of storytelling, starting with too much detail, rather than too little, is crucial for your reader to be able to feel connected to you and your message.

You can either be the same as everyone else, unmemorable in a crowd… or you can get seen on the big screen (AKA their remembering you) based on the 4K pictures you’ve painted of the slices of your own life you share.

Besides, you can always edit down.

Now it’s your turn!

Tell me a couple of facts about something that happened in your life… and then go into the details that actually make it juicy and memorable.

Want a rush of excitement every time you open your e-mail?

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