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What If They Were The Echo?

December 6, 2018 fm

It was the amazing year of 1992, the year of the Barcelona Games. I was 18 years old, drove a little red riding FIAT with too wide tires and had no girlfriend. I also was a socialist teachers’ son with little money and big dreams. I knew one day I’d be like J.R. Ewing, but different in style. For that, I had already replaced my Franconian redneck cowboy boots by Timberlands. The posters of two bands decorated the green walls of my room at home: Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.

On 27 November 1992 I jumped into my little red riding FIAT and drove off to see Metallica live in concert in Nuremberg, the capitol of Franconia. For weeks I had asked, even begged classmates to join me. In the end, no one would join me. Not even long-haired Marcus, a fanatic Metallica fan. I thought, What the heck, then I go alone!

I remember three things about that concert. First, for three days I was deaf. Second, listening to ‘Fade To Black’ live will always remain a highlight of my life. Third, I loved how front man James Hetfield played with us, the audience. In their all-time antiwar song classic ‘Seek And Destroy’ Hetfield continuously shouted, Searchin’…….. And we would scream back, Seek and destroy!!! James Hetfield made us echo his words. Again and again and again. And we loved it!

26 years later something similar happened.

We are still in Bavaria, but in Munich, the city of Oktoberfest. A public speaking training at HSE24.com, the home shopping haven. Steffi – glasses, shoulder long brunette hair, beautiful smile – has been with this company for 18 years. She is the motor of customer service, loves dogs and hates Karaoke. In one of her speeches Steffi does the James Hetfield.

Since my beginnings as a public speaking coach in 2009 until the year 2013 I had discovered 108 patterns of better communication. From 2013 to 2018 I could only add one more pattern. Steffi is the chosen one. She came up with pattern number 110.

So – what did Steffi do?

Steffi would say something like, I grew up in the city that doesn’t exist … I instantly echoed, Bielefeld! (Definitely a German insider; in Germany it’s common knowledge which city it is that “doesn’t exist”.) Steffi nodded and continued. And there I worked for the pudding giant … I instantly echoed, Dr. Oetker! Steffi sent me another nod of acknowledgment.

Steffi continued with her talk about actions she regrets in life, but I knew I had found another pattern of better communication. I will call it echoing.

Echoing makes your audience give an answer without asking a question.

You could say phrases like …

  • And then I moved to the city that never sleeps … [Pause]
  • Once they opened windows, now they own the cloud … [Pause]
  • It’s the man who insisted on one button only … [Pause]
  • The Oktoberfest is a great ambassador of this fairy-tale metropolis … [Pause]
  • He is the man who spent half his life in prison to free his people … [Pause]

Echoing is such a great new way for me to make my audience participate. I’m going to use it a lot. And all I can say is, Thank you, Steffi!

On 5 May 2019 I will see them again… Metallica. This time in Barcelona. 27 years later some hair is gray, some hair is gone. But one thing will be the same. I will scream, together with 60,000 Metallica fans… Seek and destroy!!!

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