I love lists as much as the next person. For example (and it’s a list):

1) Top 10 lists, such as “Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs.” The riskiest job? Logging (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Good to know. Let’s say you’re working at home—it’s one zoom call after another—and you’re feeling time-pressured and stressed-out.

It’s helpful to remind yourself, occasionally, that at least gigantic trees aren’t falling on your head.

2) To Do lists: I use them daily, even weekends. Sometimes I put an item on the list that I have no likelihood, really, of ever doing.

But writing it down makes me feel better.

3) Angie’s list: online service if you need an electrician, plumber, or logger.

Finding an electrician is on my To Do list, which means, obviously, there’s no chance I’ll be doing it anytime soon.

You’ll notice the above list has only three items. Lists of three can work if the items are related in an apples-oranges-bananas sort of way. (Please see my tip, The Rule of 3.)

But lists have their limits. Main problem: you’ve got to see the list to remember it. If I add “olives” to those apples/oranges/bananas, and then lose my shopping list, there go the olives.

And if you’re trying to influence or inspire others, showing them a list—for example, a bulleted list on a PowerPoint slide—is probably the worst way to do it.

The other day, I picked up a book called “The Art of Woo” (Shell, Moussa). “Woo” stands for “win others over.”

How to woo? Well, the book gives four steps—it’s a list! “1) Survey your situation; 2) Confront the five barriers; 3) Make your pitch; 4) Secure your commitments.”

I’ll never remember this list, ever. Too bad—there goes my woo.

But I’ll remember a story from the book about how Napoleon inspired his soldiers. He needed them to man an artillery battery under deadly fire. No one wanted to do it.

So Napoleon put up a large sign at the battery. He didn’t list the “Top 10 reasons to volunteer for a suicide mission.”

Instead, he wrote 7 words:  “The Battery of the Men without Fear.”

Tip: To influence and inspire, lose your list. Tell a story.

P.S. Presentation Skills? Uh-oh, here comes a list (but only 3 things).

Consider—for you or your team:

1) Virtual workshop  I’ve been leading Dynamic Speaking, a four-session course for small teams. We practice how to get heard, get remembered, and get results.

2) Webinars e.g. Your Point? Say It Concisely . . . The Power of Presence: Increase Your Impact. Click here for all 12 programs.

3) 1-1 Coaching  If you’d like to work privately, and have one or more upcoming messages/presentations, I’ll help you with design (what to say) and/or delivery (how to say it). Click here for details.

Please email info@expresspotential.com or call 508-879-0934 for more info. Let’s sharpen  your team’s skills.

P.P.S. Rather just read a book?

You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World—named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper.

Selected by a Fortune 50 company for their book club, translated into five languages, received a 4.4 Amazon rating (200 reviews), it’s available in print, kindle and audio.

To get these fast tips, click here

PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.

For more info please visit Express Potential or call 508-879-0934.

© Copyright 2020 Paul Hellman.  All rights reserved.