Speaker Linda Larson is one of the most compelling speakers I know. I have heard her speak a dozen times, and I've listened to her audio many times over with complete interest each time.
Linda uses foreshadowing to create anticipation. She arouses questions in your mind and keeps you hanging on to the edge of your chair wondering how things are going to turn out.
Her use of foreshadowing may be natural - she does the same thing in her one-on-one interactions. She once left me a voicemail that said, "I wish you were there, because I just made a huge decision that I need to tell you about." It took us days to get a hold of each other. Every time my phone rang I hoped it was her so I could find out what her "huge decision" was.
Linda's audiences can't get enough of her. She can hold their interest for hours on end. The way she creates a sense of anticipation is a part of her success.
I felt a Linda Larsen-like anticipation recently when reading an email from an internet marketer who wanted my business. Terry stirred my curiosity by telling me about a web site he thought I could use as a marketing model. Terry's email said,
Okay, now I want to point you to a web site from someone you may already know about. This guy is a content web visitor driving fool. I want you to notice some very specific points on his web site.
1.) What people are saying (builds credibility).
2.) Speaking (one of his core income producing products - looks like you are a speaker as well.
3.) Audio and Video - notice the word "powerful" and then notice what he has done for many different "highly" targeted audiences.
Oh, I forgot to give you his web site, sorry about that...
4.) Now for the *really* big deal. This is what makes this guy so much money...
The email went on for a few more paragraphs before he told me who he was referring to. Terry had me hooked.
So, today I practiced foreshadowing with my husband. I start my days by watching Sex and the City reruns while I exercise. I've been following this routine long enough that I've seen almost every episode several times. This morning was an exception and when I finished my routine, I went up to my husband and said,
"Today was a very special day."
"Why?" he asked.
"I went downstairs to exercise to Sex and the City, and after all this time I didn't think it would happen, but it did."
"I've been watching all reruns and that's what I thought I was going to get today."
Bob said, "You saw an episode you hadn't seen before."
Bob played along with me, and it was a simple way for me to practice a technique that has been shown to work so well.
Next time I'll use foreshadowing for a topic that has better payoff to him...
This technique does have its limits. If you're in a bottom line time-limited conversation, you won't want to prolong the communication process. If your listener does not seem to enjoy the process, the technique will be counterproductive. When foreshadowing goes beyond playfulness, it can be very irritating. But properly used, foreshadowing adds interest.
Speaking of interest, are you wondering what Linda's big decision was? Are you wondering who Terry was referring to? Are you wondering whether Terry got my business or not?
Linda decided to make a change in her client base. Terry was referring to Brian Tracy. And yes, Terry is my internet marketer and a great asset to my team.
Foreshadowing worked for him, and will work for you as well.