|Dear Internet visitor,
My intention is
to help you own a profitable Internet
Internet Home Business course that will help and guide
you to start off your Home Business on the Internet.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In Lesson 30 of this online course, we
first introduced you to the concept of "flow." To be
effective, a Website must "flow." In this lesson, you
will learn to create "flow" through effective
organization and presentation of information on your
Website. The concepts involved are: knowing your
audience, organizing your information, using repetition,
using concrete examples, finding agreement and
overcoming resistance, using hyperlinks to adjust your
presentation, tying your information together, and
creating opportunity for continuing contact.
SQUARE PEGS AND ROUND
Have you ever become frustrated while
trying to explain something to someone? Sometimes, when
people are being hard-headed, it feels like you are
trying to cram a square peg into a round hole.
The psychology of how people learn
supports this analogy. The human mind cannot accept new
information unless that information "fits" with
pre-existing attitudes and perspectives. A person is not
receptive to new information unless it smoothly
integrates with the information already assimilated in
that person's mind. While healthy people do not lose the
ability to learn as they grow older, it sometimes seems
so; because their heads are already crowded with stuff
interfering with new information.
Thus, you cannot influence a mind
unless you know something of what is already in that
mind. In short, you have to know your audience and you
have to speak to your audience in the context of their
existing attitudes, perspectives, and knowledge. If you
are promoting with square pegs and your audience has
round holes in their minds, you either have to round off
your pegs or square off the holes in your listeners'
minds—or a little of both.
What if I told you that water did not
freeze at zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)?
You would be resistant to that information. That
information would not fit with the information already
firmly implanted in your mind. You have known since you
were very small that water does indeed freeze at zero
Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)! You have seen it with
your own eyes time and time again. You would reject my
assertion. You would also likely reject anything else I
had to say thereafter. I would have lost credibility by
making an assertion that you could not accept.
But, what if I explained that I was
referring to absolutely pure water? Pure H2O, Something
that rarely, if ever, exists in nature but can be
created in the laboratory. If I were to explain that
water must have impurities in order to form
crystals...and that crystals were necessary for freezing
to occur, then I might have a chance of convincing you.
Absolutely pure water, water with no impurities at all,
has nothing to which the crystals can attach. Thus, it
does not freeze at the normal freezing point. With this
explanation, I would be rounding off the pegs of my
information somewhat and squaring off the holes in your
mind somewhat. You would be more likely to accept my
assertion. But, I would still have an uphill battle. You
would still be somewhat skeptical. To fully convince you
would require calling upon several other facts with
which you were already familiar and show you how they
all fit with the assertion I was making.
To have an effective presentation, you
must build upon information already in the minds of your
audience. Your presentation must fit with their existing
attitudes, perspectives, and knowledge. You cannot cram
square pegs into round holes. Thus, as we have pointed
out in earlier lessons in this course, it is helpful to
design your presentations for narrow audiences and to
target your promotions for each presentation to that
narrow demographic group for which the presentation is
If you were designing a Website for a
group of physicists, you would need very little space to
support the assertion that pure water does not freeze at
zero Celsuis. If your Website is designed for a group of
fishermen, much more space and effort would be needed.
In order to influence your audience,
you must also present your information in an organized
Any presentation—be it a book, a
speech, a television show, a Website, or whatever—should
have a beginning (the introduction), a middle (the
body), and an end (the summary).
Any type of presentation, including a
Website, should begin with an introduction. The
introduction has two main purposes:
First, the introduction should capture
attention. With all the noise in today's world, people
have learned to tune most of it out. You have to capture
your audience's attention at the start, or you will just
be part of the noise they tune out. Second, the
introduction should prepare your viewers' minds for
things to come. You can use words to draw a sketch in
your audience's minds of the entire picture painted by
the presentation. People's minds have to be warmed up to
things. You can't just hit them cold. You have to tell
them about what you are going to be telling
them...before you actually tell them what you have to
At the end of your presentation, you
should have a summary. The summary reminds your
audience, in a more concise form, of what you just told
them. It ties everything together. The mind has to work
with information before it is absorbed. Information has
to be churned around in the mind much like food has to
be churned around in the stomach. By providing another
overview of the information at the end of your
presentation, you are starting the process that will
hopefully continue in your listeners' minds to digest
and absorb the informationyou have presented.
The body of your presentation, the
part between the introduction and the summary, is the
meat of your presentation. Between your introduction and
your summary, you say in detail what you have to say.
Every fact and detail that is important to your
presentation should be included in the body.
Do not include anything in the
introduction that is not covered in the body. Likewise,
do not introduce anything new in the summary. That is,
everything promised in the introduction or summarized in
the summary should be covered in detail in the body of
ACCENT WITH REPETITION
Many presentations, from infomercials
to Supreme Court opinions, use the technique of
repetition. If you have watched an infomercial lately,
you will have noticed that, about five or 10 minutes
into the show, they start over again with a new
introduction, body, and summary. A few minutes later,
they start over yet again. This is especially useful if
your information is complicated. With each pass through,
you can emphasize and explain a different element.
When you use this approach, you should
have a main or master introduction at the very beginning
and a main or master summary at the very end, with
intermediate introductions and summaries in each of your
Repetition is effective when you are
calling your audience to action. As stated above, the
mind must digest information before it can act on that
information. When you want people to take action
immediately, you must assist in the digestion process by
repeating your information, rather than leaving it to
your audience to do after the presentation is over.
One common form of repetition is
repetition by example. Consider the following outline
for a sales presentation for weight loss supplements:
Everyone wants to be thin and
healthy. Our supplements make you thin and healthy.
You can afford our supplements. Our supplements are
more economical than the alternatives considering the
benefits you derive from them. You should buy our
Our supplements work because
(provide details). You can afford our supplements
(provide "costs less than..." price info). Our
supplements are more economical than the alternatives
because (provide details). You will be glad you bought
our supplements because (provide details of benefits).
Jack wanted to be thin and healthy.
Our supplements made Jack thin and healthy. Jack could
afford our supplements. Our supplements were more
economical than other alternatives available to Jack.
Jack bought our supplements and he is glad that he
Jill wanted to be thin and healthy.
Our supplements made Jill thin and healthy. Jill could
afford our supplements. Our supplements were more
economical than other alternatives available to Jill.
Jill bought our supplements and she is glad that she
More specific price info.
More detailed benefits info.
Everyone, including Jack and Jill
and you, wants to be thin and healthy. Our supplements
work because (brief summary of details). Jack and Jill
could afford our supplements and you can afford our
supplements. Our supplements were more economical than
other alternatives available to Jack and Jill and they
are more economical than other alternatives available
to you. Jack and Jill are glad they bought our
supplements and you will be glad you bought our
supplements. You should buy them right now.
Notice that repetition is provided by
using examples. You can go over all the points in
discussing Jack. You can go over all the points again
while discussing Jill. Repetition by example has the
added benefit of making the information concrete rather
than abstract. Concrete information has a greater impact
and is easier to remember than abstract information. The
average person is more likely to remember Jack and Jill
than they are to remember the scientific explanation of
how the supplements work.
POINTS OF AGREEMENT/
POINTS OF RESISTENCE
As you present information to your
audience, any given member of your audience will agree
with some points and disagree with, or be resistant to,
other points. In order to win over your audience, you
must have more agreement than disagreement overall. You
must start from points of agreement. You must build on
further points of agreement. Then, you must use points
of agreement to overcome the objections and resistance
that arise along the way.
Envision a salesperson sitting down
with a potential customer. The salesperson will
certainly find a point of agreement to start the
conversation. Imagine a salesperson that sits down with
a potential customer and brags on the good weather of
late. If the potential customer responds that he hates
this weather because it aggravates his sinuses, any
salesperson worth his or her salt will leave skid marks
reversing themselves on that point.
Notwithstanding their original
observation, they will readily agree with the potential
customer that the weather of late is a bad thing. Why?
Because the potential customer's opinion of the weather
is not important to closing the sale. The salesperson
will not "waste" a point of disagreement on an issue
that does not matter to the sale. Sales are closed by
agreement, not by disagreement.
When a potential customer has
disagreement on an issue that is important to the sale,
however, the salesperson will work to overcome that
resistance. Resistance is overcome by finding other
information supporting the salesperson's position with
which the potential customer agrees.
For example, say the salesperson is
trying to sell enzyme supplements. The salesperson and
the potential customer both agree that there are
benefits from using the supplements. The potential
customer objects to the price, however, because the same
volume of the same ingredients is available at the local
discount market for half the cost. The salesperson will
then have to convince the potential customer that, all
things considered, it is still economical to buy from
him or her. Alternatively, the salesperson will have to
convince the potential customer that the product at the
local discount market is somehow inferior. The objection
must be overcome in order to close the sale.
Different people have different
objections and different points of resistance. In a
one-to-one sales meeting, like our example above, the
salesperson learns the objections as they occur. In a
media presentation to a mass audience, however, the
salesperson can only guess what the objections may be.
Anticipating the objections and points of resistance
most likely to arise in a particular audience is crucial
to preparing an effective presentation for that
HYPERLINKS AND FLOW
With the advent of the World Wide Web,
hyperlinks created a new tool in communication. With
hyperlinks, you can allow any visitor to your Web
presentation to move directly to other information
simply by clicking a word or picture.
You are missing the full potential of
hyperlinks if you think of them simply as navigation
tools to move your visitors through a set presentation.
Hyperlinks can allow you to change the flow of your
presentation based upon particular characteristics of
each viewer. That is, hyperlinks allow you to customize
your presentation based upon the attitudes,
perspectives, existing knowledge, and points of
resistance of individual members of your audience.
Going back to my
water-not-freezing-at-zero-degrees example, on a Website
I could say; "If you still don't believe this, click
here." I could make the word "here" a hyperlink to a
more detail explanation of my premise. Then, after
overcoming that resistance, I could lead my skeptical
audience back into the main presentation by links from
that auxiliary page.
Sometimes, you will want to lead the
person into an entirely different presentation that will
be more effective given what you have learned about them
from their choice of hyperlinks, rather than leading
them back into the main presentation.
Hyperlinks allow you to incorporate
elements of adjustment (that have historically been
available only in one-on-one presentations) to a
presentation to a large audience. If you have 10 pages
and each page has 10 hyperlinks, you can effectively
create 100 different presentations in a single Website!
It takes a lot of work, but it creates a very powerful
vehicle for presenting your information.
TYING YOUR INFORMATION
In their novels fiction writers use a
technique known as "foreshadowing" to provide subtle
hints of what will happen later in the story. This
technique helps the story to "flow" in the readers mind.
When the foreshadowed event occurs in the story, the
reader says, "AHA! I somehow knew that might happen."
The readers usually do not consciously recognize the
subtle hints when they are given. The subtle hints work
in the subconscious mind to make the reader feel as
though she had anticipated the event.
Stand-up comedians use a technique
referred to as the "call-back" in closing their
routines. A comedian may start his routine telling jokes
about his wife not supporting his ventures. Then, his
jokes may move on to other things such as doctors,
lawyers, and politicians. At the end, he will likely
conclude his routine with a joke about how some
politician's wife, like his wife, does not support her
husband either. The last joke alludes back to an earlier
joke at the beginning of the routine. The last joke
turns on the same issue as the first joke. This ties the
routine together in the audience's mind, giving the
routine a sense of completeness.
There are other similar techniques
used by various writers, performers, and presenters to
tie up their presentation. It is an art rather than a
science. No one can tell you exactly how it should be
done in your presentation. Leave subtle hints early in
your presentation for things that will come later.
Toward the end of your presentation, make subtle
allusions back to the beginning.
THE NECESSITY OF
Even the most effective of
presentations will not make every possible sale on the
first pass through, however.
As we have previously cited in this
course, there is research to suggest that it takes
several encounters (generally seven to 11) before action
will be taken by your potential customer.
Because absorption of information is a
process that continues in your viewer's minds after they
have viewed your presentation, it is important to stay
in contact with them. The influence of your presentation
will not have its full effect until sometime later. If
you have a newsletter that reinforces the presentation
of your Website, you will be able to continue the
repetition that is necessary to inspire action on the
part of your viewers, giving them time to complete the
mental digestion process.
Thus, it is crucial to have a
newsletter signup option on your Webpage. This way, you
can continue the "flow" of information, even after the
viewer has left your Website.
In Lesson 3 of this online course, we
first introduced you to the concept of "flow." To be
effective, a Website must "flow." When a state of "flow"
is created in the viewer's mind, they are much more
likely to take action on your page (such as buying
something or joining your newsletter or program). You
create flow on your Website through organization of your
information. You should organize your information in
light of what you anticipate regarding the existing
attitudes, perspectives, and knowledge of your audience.
You should use repetition to reinforce your message.
Repetition by example is a way to achieve repetition
while making your information concrete rather than
abstract. Your flow of information should build upon
points of agreement and overcome points of resistance.
You can use hyperlinks to individualize the flow of your
presentation, depending upon the choices made by your
visitors. You should use techniques similar to
foreshadowing and call-backs to tie your information
together. You should provide a newsletter signup form to
make a continued flow of information possible. Following
these principles will help to tightened up your
presentation, allowing you to get those square pegs
through the round holes in your audience's minds.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT
Stay tuned to upcoming lessons in the
Internet Income Course for detailed discussions of
timely and important topics in Internet Marketing.
by George Little
Copyright (year) Panhandle On-Line, Inc.
License granted to Carson Services, Inc. for
distribution to SFI affiliates. No part of this work may
be republished, redistributed, or sold without written
permission of the author.
For more information on the Internet Income
Course and other works and courses by George Little, see
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