My father loves telling stories about when he was a kid. The whole family would gather in the living room and listen to the radio. Back then (he was born in 1927) radio wasn’t about music, it was about stories. Everyone in the room would be silent during the radio show listening to a story which ended in a cliff hanger and continued the following week.
When movie theatres were becoming popular, they used the same tactic as radio. Movies were the equivalent to our television series. They ended in a cliff hanger so the viewers would return the following week, fork up a quarter and see how
the story turned out. Then movies matured. They became a single story that began, was told in detail and ended all in the same 2 hour time frame (leaving room for sequels of course).
The point is, my father’s generation grew up listening. To this day, my father hears everything. Not just what is being said directly to him, but what is not being said as well. He is excellent at reading between the lines, absorbing information, and hearing (now with hearing aides) and is very sensitive to background noise.
My generation and the ones after it have grown up with a lot of noise. We have learned to tune out much of it. We have grown up in an era where so much information is being thrown at us at such a high speed we can not assimilate all of it in one shot. For us to hear the message we have to listen to it more then once. As a result, repetition has become a cornerstone in advertising and public relations. My father finds it annoying because he’s used to paying attention the first time. I find it annoying because there are so many people screaming for my attention at once, I can’t hear all of them and end up tuning most of them out.
So how do you get all the generations to pay attention?
Tell a story. Tell it once. Tell it well.
Get my attention, and keep me interested and engage me by igniting my passion. You will get my father’s attention as he will listen to your well told story intently the first time and ask for more if he likes what he hears. You will get my attention because I will tune out the background noise and focus on what you are saying. You will get my daughter’s attention as well. She will stop in her tracks for a well told story and become an advocate for you if she believes and trusts in what you are saying.
What story are you telling your customers and prospective customers?
Better yet, how good are you at listening to what they have to say?