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The Key To Audience Motivation: Pulp Fiction

In the movie Pulp Fiction Bruce Willis plays boxer Butch – a class act who has fallen on the wrong side of the local baddie, Marcellus Wallace. Butch is on the run and arranges with his girlfriend to meet at a hotel, with their most important possessions, before they skip the border.

In the hotel, Butch has a panic attack, that quickly turns to anger, when he finds out his favourite thing in the world, his Dad’s gold watch, hasn’t been packed. He is furious at his girlfriend for not remembering it – throwing a massive tantrum as only Bruce Willis can. Just at the point when he is about to tear down a hotel wall, he stops, collects his thoughts, and says:

“It’s not your fault. You weren’t to know that out of the list of ten things I gave you, the watch was the most important thing. You could have forgotten everything else and just remembered the watch.”

Let’s pause Pulp Fiction for a moment and think of your latest business initiative.

Maybe it’s teaching people how to use a new ordering system, maybe it’s trying to instill a company culture, or it could be trying to sell a customer your latest product or service. Sometimes when you are making a spoken presentation you might reel off a list of follow-ups for the audience to do. There might be 10 things on the list, just like Butch. But one thing we are sometimes guilty of is being like Butch and not highlighting the ONE thing we want our audience to remember more than anything else.

Try saying something like this at the end of your presentation:

“That’s a lot of stuff to remember, but if you forget everything else, just remember this one thing…”

Fill in the blank with THE most important thing for them to think, or do, as a result of your presentation.

In other words, when you leave the room after the presentation, meeting or training session, what is it that you want them to have understood more than anything else? Alternatively, at the end of your presentation you might ask the audience about the one thing they got from the presentation.

The point is: by prioritising your version of the gold watch for each presentation your audience will have a clear course of action, which gives you a much higher chance of success!

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