Monday, April 6, 2015

Keep Epic News to Yourself

It's tempting to open a conversation with a prospective client with a tale of your epic vacation to Tahiti. You had a wonderful time, the weather was beautiful and Tahiti is an exotic place few people get to enjoy. Who wouldn't enjoy hearing about your epic vacation?

It turns out, you will feel worse off after having told the story because people will feel less like you. I've noticed this phenomenon in my own sales presentations but didn't understand why this occurred. Epic tales (a large purchase or exotic vacation, for instance) are extraordinary. To be extraordinary is to be different, and social interaction is grounded in similarities. It runs counter to what you would expect, but social research backs this idea up. Participants in a recent study thought that sharing their extraordinary experiences would make for an engaging conversation. But in fact, the opposite happened as the people being told the extraordinary story felt more distant and less able to relate to them.