Although he lived more than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci drew pictures of machines that would not be invented for more than 400 years. His paintings of the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man are perhaps the most widely recognized images in the world.
WIKIPEDIA says Leonardo “was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest polymaths of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.”
“Leonardo da Vinci” is an idea that is larger-than-life in our minds. But when I show you a photograph of the house in which he died, he becomes more of an actual human being.
That photo of the house is what I call “a reality hook,” a point of contact that connects the world of abstract imagination to the world of concrete fact.
You can buy a print of the Mona Lisa on Amazon.com for less than ten dollars and the image will be identical to the original. But the value of the original is beyond estimation because Leonardo da Vinci actually touched it.
An original work of art gives you a point of contact with the artist.
An historical artifact gives you a point of contact with a specific moment in time.
Understand this, and you understand the heart of every collector.
Just as Leonardo da Vinci became more “real” when you saw the house in which he died, he comes into chronological focus when I tell you that Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus and King Henry VIII shared his lifetime. Leonardo becomes gut-wrenchingly real when I tell you that his diaries speak of a “gang of four” that raped him repeatedly when he was a boy.
BAM. Reality hook.
Stories and descriptions become more believable when you give them context.
There are four ways to create reality hooks:
- Connect to something the reader/listener has already experienced.
“Have you ever bought a car and then began seeing cars like yours everywhere you went?”
- Use terms of description that are specific and highly visual; shapes, colors, and the names of familiar things. “A man pulling radishes pointed my way with a radish.”
- Include details that can be independently confirmed. These bits that can be confirmed lend credibility to those parts of your story that cannot be confirmed. “There’s a restaurant in Austin at 4th and Colorado called Sullivan’s. It was there that I met Kevin Spacey and Robert Duvall.”
- Make logical sense. People are quick to believe things that seem correct, even when those things are not true. “If your advertising isn’t working, it’s because you’re reaching the wrong people.”
Later this morning (Monday, January 12, 2015 at 11AM CST) I’ll spend the better part of an hour presenting examples of each of the 4 categories of reality hooks and talking about when and how to use them.
Reality hooks are the hammer, screwdriver, pliers and duct tape of an ad writer. You can use them to fix practically anything.
I really should have told you about today’s webcast a week ago, but it didn’t occur to me.
Sorry about that.
Here’s how I’ll make it up to you: the next time you come to a class at Wizard Academy, tell Vice-Chancellor Whittington that you’d like to see my examples of reality hooks and we’ll figure out a way to make that happen for you (and anyone else in your class that wants to join you.)
2015 is going to be a year unlike any other.
Hang on tight.
Roy H. Williams
PS – After he previewed today’s memo, Sean Taylor said he could capture the webcast as a video stream and make the recording accessible to new subscribers. Sean is so smart. But we’ll still honor my original offer to share it with academy students when they’re on campus. – RHW
Da Vinci and the 40 Answers is a step-by-step study of TRIZ, the analytical tool of Genrich Altschuller that’s blowing the minds of engineers worldwide. The 40 answers apply to everything. This class is taught only once a year and it sells out early. This year it will be in October. Most will wait until summer to register and learn, too late, that all the rooms in Spence Manor and Engelbrecht House were reserved by people like you who signed up in January.
Bonnie Marcus says talented women often fall behind in the world of business because they haven’t mastered the rules of networking, office politics, and self-promotion. Listen in at MondayMorningRadio.com as Bonnie tells rambunctious Rotbart what women can do to get ahead and stay ahead in today’s competitive workplace. Men will especially want to hear what Bonnie has to say. If Bonnie’s right, your job is on the line.
Yeah, I’m just stirring the pot. Heh, heh, heh. – Indiana Beagle