Why The Wrong Way is Often The Right Way to Persuade and Teach

fire fighters

Once in a while, I share with you stories about the wrong way to market your business.

Like this story about a marketer who pretended she’d sent me a personal note when it was, actually, a message sent to everyone on her list. 

Or this story about a marketer who sent me a sales pitch disguised as a sales receipt

Or this story about a super-creepy pitch I got from a guy named Joon who said he’d been “creeping” my LinkedIn profile. 

So, why do I share these stories? Why do I focus so much on these wrong-way-to-do-it stories? 

Because we learn as much – maybe more – studying the wrong way to do things as we do studying the right way. 

I’ve long believed that. Research proves it. 

In his great book Yes! — which is what we’re reading this month in the Mastermind Book Club — Robert Cialdini describes a study that looked at training for firefighters. 

In the study, two groups of firefighters received different lessons.

One group reviewed case studies describing real-life situations in which firefighters made errors.

The other group reviewed case studies that focused on firefighters who acted flawlessly. 

The firefighters who studied others’ errors learned more. 

From Chapter 25 of Yes!: The researchers “found that firefighters who underwent the error-based training showed improved judgment and were able to think more adaptively than those who underwent the error-free training.”  

Of course, it’s not enough to describe the error and the bad outcome. You have to describe a better way, a path that could have avoided the bad outcome. 

As noted in the book, “Specifically, case studies, videos, illustrations, and personal testimonials of mistakes should be followed by a discussion of what actions would have been appropriate to take in those and similar situations.” 

That’s what I do in my wrong-way-to-do-it stories. That’s what smart managers do when training employees. 

How about you? Have you ever used wrong-way-to-do-it stories to train or persuade others. We’re discussing that and many other questions/lessons from Yes! in the Mastermind Book Club. You don’t have to read the book to participate in and learn from the conversation. See the p.s. below for more details. 

p.s. The Mastermind Book Club is live. Every month, Ted Prodromou and I choose a book to discuss. Read it if you want, but you don’t have to.

Ted and I — along with other members — will share takeaways from the book and discuss how we can turn lessons learned into business-building action.

After I press “send” I’ll be posting this email to the clubhouse so members can weigh in and share their thoughts. 

Once a month, Ted and I will host a live event for all members to get together and discuss the book. 

Go to MasterMindBook.club to join. It’s free.

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.