I paid a rare visit to a McDonalds recently where I ordered a Southern Style Chicken Sandwich and sat to refuel myself at a table with parking lot view. (My apologies to all my former Burger King advertising colleagues.)
Opening the clamshell box I read the following text repeated over and over again: “You’re about to enjoy a juicy, flavorful chicken eating experience.”
So while I did not want to think too hard about “chicken eating experiences,” what I did think is – “oh that is smart”. They have framed my approach to the sandwich. I know what to expect, I know what to look out for. And I already have the words to describe it to my friends if I choose to enthuse about it.
This is a classic presentation technique: tell them what to expect, then give them the experience and then tell them what just happened.
Think of all this in the context of telling your own story. You are trying to get someone to read your resume or see your pitch. You want them to understand immediately why they should care and what they should think about you – even before they read it. So that when they do read it they go – “ah this is just what I expected”. And then of course you deliver. You are in control of your message and they don’t have to figure it out for themselves.
If you have done this effectively, not only will they will be thinking what you want them to think, but now they have a ready made set of words to pass your story on: the words that you put in their mouths.
This is most important as so many opportunities come not directly from your inner circle of contacts, but from their circles of contacts; from people who are one step removed from you. Your inner circle probably knows you too well and has too much baggage associated with you to hire you themselves; but they like you and want you to succeed so they are happy to refer you onwards. With the words you have given them they’ll find it easier to match you when the appropriate opportunity presents itself to them. And they can use the story you gave them. You are now not just someone looking for a job, but you are now “a juicy flavorful chicken experience” or whatever are the words you fed them about yourself that they have saved for passing on.