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What if it happened here?

I generally avoid commenting about news and politics in this blog. However, an opinion piece by Patt Morrison in the Mar 8 LATimes.com caught my eye:

If L.A. were Baghdad
Imagine our reaction to suicide bombers killing 40 USC students and blowing up South Coast Plaza in the same month. (link to article)

The author describes eight incidents from the past month, transposed from Baghdad to Los Angeles. As I read the article, I caught my breath

I realized how immunized I have become to the news. Talk of ten deaths here and forty deaths there becomes simply background noise between commercials. Because it is so far away, and I cannot imagine what it is like to live that situation, I can’t really relate to it – I “know” it’s a bad thing, but the descriptions don’t “move” me.

Patt Morrison’s article really affects me because it puts me in the middle of the experience – instead of simple facts, it draws pictures in my mind’s eye that triggers real emotions: the essence of effective communication.

As a solopreneur, knowing how to communicate not just facts or reasons, but communicating to trigger emotion, is a crucial skill. Emotion is where decisions are first made, then we look for reasons or facts to justify the emotional decision. Successful entrepreneurs know how to trigger emotion, to tell a story: think of Steve Jobs of Apple (watch his keynote for Macworld 2007 here to see a master story-weaver at work).

Okay, that segue from Iraq to Apple was a stretch, but the core point of this post is about how the technique of transposing an otherwise invisible or distant situation into the here and now of everyday life is a powerful technique to tell your story and get people to take notice, and hopefully, take action.

How can you use a similar technique to communicate global warning, or degenerative disease, or corporate culture or another situation that’s hard for the average person to perceive as tangible?

Going back to the original article, what if Baghdad’s experience was transposed onto your city? How would it feel to you?

And, most of all, what would you do about it?

Direct link to article (registration might be required)

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