• The Wine’s Show Joe Fattorini on what makes a good wine story

    Joe Fattorini is currently telling wine stories to millions of people every weekend on ITV1’s The Wine Show. So he might know a thing or two about how to get their attention. Here he shares his views on what makes a good communicator, and not just about wine, anything…

    Joe Fattorini is currently telling wine stories to millions of people every weekend on ITV1’s The Wine Show. So he might know a thing or two about how to get their attention. Here he shares his views on what makes a good communicator, and not just about wine, anything…

    By May 18, 2016
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    Do you consider yourself a good “communicator”? You might want to think again…

    Yes, I know, we think of ‘communicators’ as presenters, educators, bloggers and writers. But most wine communicating is by merchants, sales people, buyers and managers.

    As we can talk and write we assume we are qualified to do our bit of communicating. And we assume that those who do it will have a ‘flair’ for it. This is codswallop.

    Communicating well is like playing chess. We all need to learn the rules. And all need to practise.

    What do you want me to know? What do you want me to do?

    There are two sorts of presentations. Written ones and spoken ones. They do different things and are not interchangeable. If you want someone to know something, write it down. If you want someone to do something, tell them.

    This is how our brains work.

    People do something after a talk rich in images, either spoken or on slides. Your content should be full of appeals to emotion and share a common purpose. (Top tip, use the word ‘you’ five times more than the word ‘I’.)

    But if you need people to know something, write a text. It should be rich in detail, logic and present a structured argument.

    If you want to do both, give a talk that inspires people to go away and read your text. But never give a presentation with a ‘deck’ of 50 text-heavy slides. Or email a disillusioned customer asking them to buy your stuff. You’re just wasting everyone’s time.

    Once upon a time…

    Humans are motivated by sustenance, sex and stories. Sunday Supplement stories about Nigella’s ‘saucy snaps’ suddenly make sense now don’t they.

    A magical triumvirate of base appeals even if the stories are fundamentally rubbish. Good stories feature a protagonist who faces a challenge. They struggle, look defeat in the face, and overcome.

    It’s no accident that many of the most successful stories in wine follow just this structure. Winemaker falls out with boss. Buys vineyard. Underestimates costs and challenges. Nearly loses everything. Has one final vintage (the equivalent of the penultimate Bond vs Villain scene). Finally produces wine adored by critics.

    Look for this structure and exploit it. People will listen and remember.

    Benefits, not features

    You know this already. Of course you do. So why do we still get it wrong? If in doubt ask yourself this.

    What does your presentation sound like? Is it: “6.2 L V8 engine. 4 speed automatic. 13 miles to the gallon. Top speed 114mph. Power steering. Electric windows (optional)”.

    Or: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

    David Ogilvy’s 1959 strapline is still the greatest example of the power of benefits over features.

    Every time you use bullets someone sticks a pin in a kitten

    • Will you please stop using them
    • They are lazy thinking; the equivalent of sticking two fingers up to your audience
    • That’s because bulleted lists are just word-vomit. Thoughts randomly splattered on a page
    • There’s no sequence, no ranked importance, structure or development
    • Human brains are not designed to ingest random, unlinked information. Don’t believe me?
    • Tell me what was in the second bullet without looking back. You can’t can you?
    • I told you so
    • That kitten is looking at you with wide eyes, asking “why do you want to hurt me?”
    • Bastard

    Tell people what to do. Write down why. Describe how someone’s life changed making your product. Show how your audience’s life will change by enjoying your product.

    • The End.
    1. Reply

      What a joker, nicely done. But I can already hear thousands of millennial content commissioners screaming at you for your bullet point stupidity. Even though you’re right.

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