From The Rock

Frame of Reference

By | April 10, 2014

The other day at my gym, there was this dude who was working out with heavy weights on every machine. He was throwing down on every piece of equipment they have — and with proper form and discipline. He was definitely one of the strongest guys that I’ve seen in there. Then, he started doing some push-ups, and I noticed that he could barely do them. His form was completely off, and he didn’t have any balance. 
The other day at my gym, there was this dude who started doing some push-ups, and I noticed that he could barely do them. His form was completely off, and he didn’t have any balance. Then, he started working out with heavy weights on every machine. He was throwing down on every piece of equipment they have — and with proper form and discipline. He was definitely one of the strongest guys that I’ve seen in there.
Spoiler Alert – this is the same guy! However, go back and read those two paragraphs again. What is your impression of the guy in the first paragraph compared to the guy in the second?
If you are like me, the ending of the first paragraph’s story was surprising in that you would assume that someone who can work out with that much weight appropriately would be able to do push-ups with considerable ease. And, the second paragraph’s end provides the feelings of being surprised in that you assume this weakling can’t do any large amounts of weight, but then he outperforms expectations. 
I honestly was reflecting about this the other day because I was imagining how I would tell this story to someone who wasn’t there and how depending on the way I told it, the listener would have a much different reaction, as well as perception of the story I was setting up.
It is also a good reminder that companies, brands and organizations need to be very aware of HOW they are telling their stories. As the above example showed, there will always be several ways to share the same story. The challenge is to make sure that the way you choose to share your story is the RIGHT way for you, your company and its overall goals. 
Speaking with clients, we always stress consistency of message when different spokespeople communicate about an organization. This is more challenging than it appears. Each person who is designated to speak about a brand should be well-versed in some type of ambassador training in order to have extensive practice and awareness of the do’s and don’ts of speaking as it pertains to the specific company you are representing. 
Stories are the way that we share everything. Therefore, it is important that the beginning, middle and end of the story is well-planned and thought-out for the audience to which it is intended.