Monday, June 01, 2009

Writing Tips - How To Make Dull Information Exciting

Writing Tips - How To Make Dull Information Exciting

Someone once said (it may have been me): "There is no dull information, only dull writers." We have all had the misfortune of reading very dull texts and sitting through very dull presentations. But were they inherently dull? Or were they made that way because the writer or presenter just didn't bother to do their homework?

If I asked you to read the first five pages of telephone listings, you would probably expect to die of boredom. However, if I told you that somewhere in those five pages there is a hidden message that could be worth $300,000, the boredom would quickly disappear. Why? Not because a rather uninspiring task had suddenly turned into a kind of game, although this would help. The real reason is that you would now have a clear interest to do so, and therefore a clear desire to do so.

This is a dramatic -- and highly exaggerated -- example of what I immodestly call "Yaffe's Law". It states: If you give people what they want first, they are likely to accept anything else you want them to have. If you give them what you want first, chances are they won’t accept anything at all.

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