If you’d been sitting with me at the association meeting at which I’d be speaking, you might have felt the same way when the envelopes were passed around. As the representative from a local food pantry walked to the front of the room, I must confess, my thoughts weren’t positive. “Another group asking for my money. ’Tis the season!”
I’m not proud of those thoughts, by the way. Because of the work I do, I’m in tune with most of the marketing and sales messages we’re bombarded with every day. Sitting in the audience that day, I was expecting another self-indulgent plea for money.
That’s when Mike, the man next to me, passed around the envelopes. I glanced at the name and address. It read ‘Anderson Ferry Food Pantry.’ I started to put it down when I noticed the words printed on the right side – 29 words that change my perspective. And it transformed facts into images that inspired action from me.
Those words are a reminder of the power that a crystal clear picture can have when speaking to your audiences.
What was written on the envelope?
Every dollar donated allows us to buy from the Freestore Foodbank:
- Four pounds of meat
- Ten cans of vegetables
- Four boxes of cereal, or
- Ten boxes of rice/macaroni
Why did this change my view of giving?
Because it shifted my focus. I was no longer thinking about the amount of money. I saw a vision of food. Ialso saw struggling people sitting around a table, eating a good meal. This is an everyday experience that I too often take for granted. That scene touched my emotions.
Notice they didn’t write anything about the people who will eat the food they provide. The writer of those words understands that the reader knows that a food pantry provides food to the needy. That person is capable of ‘filling-in-the-blanks’ of the picture. In fact, allowing them to complete the scene makes that individual a part of the story. S/he may also be more likely to take action on your message.
Unlike most materials I receive at an event like that association meeting, I kept the envelope. It was a reminder for me to do two things: 1) write a check, and, 2) write an article sharing this message.
When you are speaking, convert numbers or other data into vivid pictures for the reader or listener. Do this and you can transform facts into action.
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