A single businessman sits alone in a hotel bar when a beautiful woman approaches and offers him a drink. The two share conversation, laughs, and a few stories and then everything vanishes. This is the last thing the businessman remembers before….
He groggily wakes up in a bathtub fills with ice. Immediately in front of him next to the tub are a cell phone and a note. The note says in scribbled, bright red ink: ‘Don’t Move. Use this phone to call 911!’
The confused, disoriented businessman dials 911 explains the bathtub, note, and cellphone and asks the operator to help her make sense of all of this madness. The operator says: “Are you in a bathtub filled with ice? Is there a tube coming out of your back?” The businessman looks behind him to notice a cylinder protruding out of his back. A knifing pain shoots through this body. “Yes, there is a tube,” the businessman responds.
“I am sorry sir, but you’ve been drugged and a kidney has been removed from your body; I’ll have 911 on the scene immediately. Don’t move – just stay in the tub. This is the 10th call I’ve received like this in the past month.”
Have you heard this one before? This urban legend has been bouncing around for decades. First of all, this is not truth, but the power of its vivid imagery and ability to captivate is real.
The takeaway: Use stories to convince, persuade, and inform. Don’t just rely on statistics, disconnected anecdotes, or a laundry list of suggestions to be remembered.
Want more real-world examples of how to make ideas stick? Check out ‘Made to Stick’ by Dan and Chip Heath.
I just read it and it comes highly recommended.
Until next time,