January 23, 2017 fm

Do You Speak Like An Image Brochure?

When people present something, far too often they speak like an image brochure: We add value to our clients; we offer legal advice to NGOs; we turn your company into an agile powerhouse. Don’t tell people what you do. Tell them what you did. For a simple reason: proof.

Think about the last corporate image brochure you held in your hands. Nice images of smiling employees and shining trees. Some charts and graphs here and there surrounded by text passages overflowing with generic blathering: We do this well and we do that well. And, of course, we are the best in what we do. Image brochure texts sell one thing only: promises.

It is much better to talk about what you did. When you share your professional experiences, you show, you demonstrate, you prove your expertise. Experiences sell proof.

Now – what you shouldn’t do is to simply replace present tense by past tense. For the last 20 years you’ve been adding value to our clients? That is not much better!

Promise < Example < Example + Story

Instead, offer specific examples to your audience.

Seven months ago, we helped a family-owned business in Vienna, Austria. They struggled with a drop in sales of 25% over a period of 12 months. We sat down with their senior leadership and came up with a simple idea. We implemented […]

You can enhance these examples and expand them into stories.

I remember that day seven months ago. It was a gray and rainy day. I was just about to leave my office, when the phone rang. An Austrian number. I thought, “Who could that be?” I picked up the phone and a deep and friendly voice with a strong Viennese accent greeted me. […]

In my corporate trainings and in my keynote speeches, but also in sales meetings I stopped speaking like an image brochure ages ago. Next time you are about to share your empty promises, bite your tongue and deviate to past examples. Wrap them into personal stories.

You will feel the difference.

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