Donald Miller’s “How to Become a Communication Ninja”

These are notes summarizing the presentation “How to Become a Communication Ninja” by Donald Miller. The most important points are bolded.

Good copy?
  • Make your communication “crystal clear” and customers will listen.
  • Most companies waste an enormous amount of marketing collateral on things like drive-by billboards.
  • You open an e-mail and think “this doesn’t make me want to buy anything”.
  • A brand can make the most beautiful website but thats not why people buy things.
  • People buy things because they heard or read words that make them want to buy things, the designer has no idea about sales copy.
  • Don’t leave retail presence to designers.
  • People only buy products after they read the words that make them want to buy (example: scrolling down to amazon reviews).
  • People do not buy the best products, they buy the ones that are communicated the clearest and that they understand the fastest.
  • We are in a race to get people to understand why they need our product
  • The customer needs to know about your product and why they need it.
  • The first thing the human brain is trying to do is to “thrive and survive”, “keep you alive”.
  • Maslow: once food is taken care of you start thinking about relationships.
  • People are looking for “teams” that will support them emotionally, spiritually, socially.
  • Why do you go get someone coffee? So that “when barbarians come over the hill” you’ll be in it together.
  • If what you’re communicating isn’t directly connected to making your customers survive and thrive they are not going to pay attention.
  • People are “scanning the environment for data” hoping to gain security and other fundamental needs.
  • The second thing the brain is trying to do is “conserve calories” as just thinking is very tiring.
  • When the brain has to process a ton of data it shuts off at the point where there is no bearing on survival.
  • If you say “it’s complicated” you are preemptively warning that what you are going to say is a waste of energy.
  • It sounds silly but this is the way humans work: “barbarians” are coming.
  • We want to communicate about things that help our customers survive and thrive. People buy the products and services they can understand the fastest.
  • Every time you share a piece of information about your product or service you should imagine handing your audience an eight pound bowling ball.
  • If you hand someone a “fourth” bowling ball after poor communication your audience will drop all the bowling balls.
  • You are competing with “bacon wrapped dates” (example of a networking/business event).
  • “If you confuse, you lose”
  • “The curse of knowledge”: people make buying decisions at a very simple level of knowledge, past a certain point they are “cursed” with knowledge.
  • There are two keys: are you addressing the need of the audience to “survive and thrive” and is the message clear and simple (ie. “have you avoided the curse of knowledge?“).
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