This will likely be of interest to my writer and speaker friends because it addresses the magic formula for reliably and consistently getting people excited about what you’re saying. 

A while back I posted something that reached 99.95% of the people who like my author page, which is an unbelievable result!! I couldn’t even pay for that kind of reach normally. So what did it have that people liked it so much that FB kept making it available to an ever increasing number of my audience? Well, the 6 elements that transform regular information into scintillating knowledge, of course. Read the post and then I’ll break it down for you…

“HUGE WTF!!! Yesterday at METaL, my men’s club in LA, I met a man with the most impressive story I have ever heard. Imagine this…a BLACK MAN with a Jewish surname spends 18 months in jail in Alabama sharing a cell with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and by the time he gets out on appeal, the Grand Wizard has confessed to him in writing 167 major aggravated offenses committed by the KKK, made him the beneficiary of his will, bequeathed him his properties and given him power of attorney over all his affairs. He is using his power of attorney to shut down the KKK and make it an illegal entity. Will Smith has bought the rights to his story and it should be coming out as a movie next year.”

1) Simple is the first rule of capturing minds. The above story is very simple. You only have to hear it once and you can retell it yourself later with no problem. We admire multi issue politicians, but they don’t win elections because their vision never takes hold in our minds…or hearts.

2) Unexpected. The mind catalogues information for convenience, so it’s not interested in repetition. The first filter that information has to get through in the brain is the test of whether it is novel and unusual. The more unusual, the more the brain is interested. This story defies expectation, which is the best kind of unexpected.

3) Concrete. The information must be clear, to the point that you can see it. After the reptilian brain computes that the information is unexpected, it “looks” at the information, and if it can’t see it, it dismisses it. The story in my post is very visual. 

4) Credibility. The info is simple, unexpected and visual, but it has several more tests before it is adopted as appealing knowledge. Next the brain wants to know the authority of the information, both in terms of the seniority and the credibility of the bearer. I heard this story from the stage at METaL, a club in LA for alpha members of the music, entertainment, innovation, professional and entrepreneurial fields. You’ll meet Larry King there, the CEO of Tesla, the guy who founded Tinder, the man who gave Steve Jobs his first job. It never even occurred to me for a moment to doubt the story. And those who know me, in turn, by and large trust what I pass on to them. 

5) Emotion. This story is very emotional. Disturbing for a moment, but then hugely comforting in its triumph and vindication. Now the information has made its way to the mammalian brain where we feel stuff out, and if the info doesn’t evoke anything for us to feel out, it’s trashed. Movies and books and speeches and politicians that don’t make us feel don’t get our vote. 

6) It’s a STORY. Stories capture our imagination because they hold novelty and suspense; they provide visual clarity; they offer self-evident credibility, the mind relates to them as gospel; and of course they layer facts with emotion. 

We’ll know soon enough how true this story is, but for now its fascination for me is in how compelling it is, and what makes it so compelling. If you seek to be an influencer, or to go to the next level of influencing, take note! These are the magic ingredients that transform what you have to say into scintillating knowledge in the minds of others.


William Whitecloud

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