Monday, April 27, 2009

Remember When Your Parents Yelled At You?

people yelling I was reading the blog Dan Pankraz vs. Youth and the post Start Whispers … never Yell. In the post his 25yo cousin says of brands “Whisper don’t yell at me…if you whisper, i’m more likely to listen to what you’re saying and tell my mates”. Dan goes on to note that “the more intimate gestures we provide to youth via a ‘whisper’ the more likely they are to listen”.

It reminded me of a meeting I was in the other day. There were 6 of us and one of the people at the meeting was one of those people who seemed to just command respect in the conversation because when he spoke we all listened and no one jumped in before he was finished. Why?

Because he whispered.

We’ll he didn't exactly whisper whisper but he spoke really softly. He certainly didn’t yell. It seemed to me that he was deliberately speaking quietly so that people would listen.

Some people are just quietly spoken, never wanting to be in the spotlight, but there are others who use it as an effective tool to make themselves heard. Sounds like a contradiction right? Speak quietly so that you are heard!

What can actually happen when someone, in a conversation, speaks quietly, is that others have to stop an listen otherwise they may miss something important and it may be hard to continue the conversation.

It means that the others have to slow their thoughts down (instead of rapidly thinking about what they can say next) and it means the speaker can command respect and make sure their point is made. The flip side is that if they spoke really loudly, aggressively and never let you finish your points then you would get the impression that they didn’t really care what you had to say and they didn't really want to have a proper conversation with you.

It reminds me of one of Hugh MacLeod’s ( cartoons which reads “if you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch ifyoutalkedtopeople-thumbyou in the face”.

Remember when you were a kid and your parents yelled at you? Well, because you didn’t have the guts to punch them in the face you next option was to not really listen. Instead you just nodded begrudgingly and waited for them to finish. You didn’t really take in anything that they were saying (which probably explains why I was in trouble half of the time).

Are brands really that different especially when a lot of us talk about having conversations with the market?

Think about it. Does the brand you work for feel as though you are yelling at people all the time? Maybe not as extreme as yelling but does your brand just broadcast at people? If so, chances are, just like when you were a little kid, your customers are not listening.

Are there brands that you feel yell at you all the time and could take a softer approach to get your attention?