Last week I wrote about the relationship between the music of English and the art of the sale /2018/09/14/thoughts-on-the-music-of-english-and-the-art-of-the-sale/
As you’ve probably figured out, I have a special feeling for the power of music in the English language. The fact is there’s power in the music of every language. But since I coach English-language communication skills, I focus on my native language.
Connecting clients with the rhythm and the melodies of English pulls them into the “spirit” of the language, for sure. But how do we pull them in? How do we help our clients/students to let down their guard and try something that may be entirely new for them?
First, of course, by modelling.
Our own passion is infectious. Our voice doesn’t need to be loud. It does need to be dynamic. We need to speak with conviction – with sincerity, honesty, humour, calm and confidence.
But you can also play with commercial jingles, old and new, to inspire and motivate your clients.
The music of jingles most often (but not always: Coca Cola’s “I’d like to teach the world to sing” [that part’s okay] “in perfect harmony” [that part’s not]) imitates English syllable stress perfectly: (Alka Seltzer antacid) “Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz. Oh, what a relief it is,” (Kit Kat chocolate bars) “Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar;” (Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum) “The taste is gonna move ya when you pop it in your mouth;” (Nationwide Insurance) “Nationwide is on your side.”
They’re so catchy that they’re quite capable of taking over the brain and the body. That’s exactly what a good commercial jingle is supposed to do – stick in your head forever – persuade you to buy.
Get your clients/students to take these short jingle sentences and use them with different intention. Get them to overact like crazy. Make it dramatic: angry, pleading, hysterical with laughter, fearful, demanding. Where does the voice move? Up? Down? When does it move? How does it move? Do the words get faster? Slower? Let the rhythm and the melody — the music — take the body along. Gesture. Walk.
Stand up and be intimidating. Then relax, sit down, smile and say it in jest. When do they breathe? When do they pause? Have them say it with the same high drama in their native language. Have them say it again but with no words. Have them say it in gibberish. Play. Explore. Let the imagination run wild. Be children.
Then take it all back into the words of the presentation, the speech, the sales pitch, whatever. Take each sentence and make it rhythmic. Really exaggerate the syllable stress. Inject every emotion you can think of into the way you/they speak. Go over the top. Pull out all the stops.
And after all that, bring it back. Be clear on the intention of what’s being said. Modulate the dynamics. Make sure the keywords are crystal clear. Find the places to pause.
The exercise works with students in a classroom setting, in business with members of the rank and file and even with executives. It allows them to let go, be a little wild and walk around in someone else’s shoes for awhile.
The music is there inside all of us and it’s powerfully persuasive.
What do you think?
To listen to the jingles I referenced, go to https://youtu.be/gZ1nfdO_3Aw
And don’t forget to check out this week’s One-Minute Words at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfYf8kBkeL0&list=UUtLnMIqmYW9uRCi_Kx48AaQ