They told you it was called, “reading between the lines.”
But what they didn’t tell you was that the writer put it there – between the lines – for you to figure out on your own.
Speak the truth and people will doubt you. But if you can tempt those people to follow you to where they can discover that truth on their own, you will have convinced them to the core of their soul.
You’ve got to let them find the treasure on their own.
But it’s okay to leave a trail of breadcrumbs.
Just don’t be too obvious about it.
When the crumbs are too big or too close together, people feel manipulated.
You’ll know you’ve done the job perfectly when the person whose eyes you’ve opened wants to tell you about “this wonderful new thing” they have discovered.
Mothers go through this every day.
How old were you when you finally figured out that most of what you were “discovering” and sharing with your mom was just stuff she had placed in your path for you to find?
Wives are good at this, too. Princess Pennie does it with such subtlety and grace that it’s often days or weeks before I realize what she has done.
But I am neither a mother nor a wife, so my only option is to clumsily remind you of things you already know. You will then be free to say, “Yes, I already knew that, but thanks for the reminder.”
These are the things I would not have you forget:
(Or should it be, “These are the things I would have you not forget:”? I’ll let you decide. And I’m reasonably certain that my colon–quotation mark–question mark sequence two sentences ago is improper punctuation, but I can’t figure out how to phrase the question for Google, so with your permission I’ll just move on, okay?)
- Never claim to be honest. Just say things that only an honest person would say. Having followed the breadcrumbs, the listener will then conclude, “Wow. This person is really honest.”
- Never claim to be generous. Just freely give what only a generous person would give. The recipient will then conclude, “Wow. This person is really generous.”
- Never claim to be intelligent. Just listen intently and nod your head as though you understand. The speaker will then conclude, “Wow. This person really gets it.”
- Now that I think about it, never claim anything at all. Just demonstrate the quality you want to be known for.
- In other words, shut up and do the thing.
Don’t claim things.
I’m talking about advertising, of course.
But I think the same advice also goes for pretty much every other situation in life.
Did you notice the anomaly in point 3, the one about intelligence? Did you notice what was missing? Did you hear what I did not say?
I did not tell you to, “Just say something that only an intelligent person would say.”
Because that NEVER works. Trying to sound intelligent just makes you look like a pompous ass.
But you already knew that.
You’re such a great listener.
Roy H. Williams
PS – I’ve asked Indy to load up the rabbit hole with interesting passages from books that say things without saying them openly. The game is to see if you can figure out what each writer is saying “between the lines.” – RHW
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