This month's blog is a guest post, written by a Sub@omic customer, Graham Miller of Media-Vu. Graham is a media coach who works to help people in business tell their story and get their messages across. Read what Graham has to say about tailoring your messages to your own audience.
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918 was a German by the name of Professor Max Planck. The world was a different place 96-years ago. On the one hand it was struggling desperately to come to terms with the consequences of World War I. Whilst on the other brilliant thinkers like Prof Max were laying down the foundations of modern science.
The subatomic world of the atom was Max's thing and, having commenced the branch of physics we now know as Quantum Mechanics with the proposal of Planck's Constant, he was invited to deliver his lecture on the subject to audiences throughout Europe.
And that's exactly what he did. Using the same words, sentences and paragraphs every single time. Even Max didn't have the brains to make a change or two. Just to make his speech more interesting perhaps. Or to introduce something new. Never mind the absence of PowerPoint; he could see no point in varying his homily in any way. Until one night when his chauffeur made a suggestion.
Professor, he began, in German,
I have listened to your discourse perhaps 50 times and I can honestly say I know it - word for word.
The Internet hasn't been invented yet... (alright I made that bit up). But the driver's idea was to give Max the night off and he, the driver, would give the famous lecture in his place.
Very interesting idea, declared Professor Planck.
By Fritz I'll do it! (OK, I made that bit up as well.) But the story goes that sure enough that night the Professor sat in the front row wearing the chauffeur's cap of course and the driver gave the talk. Perfectly. Word for word. Without a slip.
When the applause died down and both men were preparing to leave a man at the back of Hall stood up and asked a detailed question about this new concept of Quantum Physics. Quick as a flash our clever driver answered.
I'm astounded that here in the sophisticated and intellectual City of Berlin that anyone should ask such a naive question. It's so simple, he went on
that I'm going to get my chauffeur to answer it for you.
Nowadays of course you couldn't get away with it. Social media types would have identified the fraud within seconds. But the point of the story is that today we are all Professor Plancks. We tend to say the same things in the same way to whichever client or customer we're talking to?
The lesson is that we should change what we say to meet the needs of our client. Lecturing them on our ideas and thoughts is a waste of everyone's time. Customers want to know how we can help them. How we might benefit them in some way. It doesn't matter what service, product or skill you offer, when it comes to commercial communication whether it's in print, online or on-air, it all comes down to helping solve a customer's current or future problem.