Storytelling Course Lesson 5: Using The Power of Familiarity to Sell Complex Ideas

Back in Lesson 3, we talked about the ‘Curse of Knowledge’ and how speaking at a high-level about ideas only you understand will be detrimental to effective communication.

The truth of the matter sometimes is that as much as you try to make technical concepts accessible to the layperson, it’s usually a pretty difficult task.

If you’ve kept yourself abreast of startup trends ( at least back in 2015 ), you may have heard of this term: “Uber for x”

In this context, many startups try to emulate Uber’s sharing-economy business model hence the term became ubiquitous.

What we can learn from this example is the possibility of leveraging on what your audience is already familiar with to communicate a more complex idea.

When one of our startup clients – Glints ran their successful funding round for $450,000, they called their business model : The Linkedin for Youths.

You might not understand what Glints was at that point in time, but there’s a high-chance you’d know what Linkedin was about.

Of course, not everyone runs a startup company with a revolutionary new idea that few people understand. On a more general level, using imagery in anecdotes and analogies work just as well.

Here’s an example… Say you’re presenting at a conference and you needed to explain a grandiose idea: ‘a place on the internet where all of your data from all your digital touchpoints is stored’. Today, we call it ‘the cloud’, which if you think about it, is a really apt visual analogy.

One more example: A social media marketer we met recent was using the description of a property agent to describe different types of marketing our firm could implement; Property agents sell residential and commercial property in different ways.

Residential properties tend to be sold only when needed, hence the agents need to find ways to stay top-of-mind rather than finding quick conversions from people who buy commercial properties for investments. He said we were like Residential agents – Eureka!

To communicate an idea that people are unfamiliar with, you’ll need to connect it to something they already understand.