Darmok at Tanagra?

If you watched Star Trek The Next Generation – the one with Captain Jean Luc Picard, you probably remember the episode with that title (note, it was actually just called “Darmok” – but the phrase was in the episode).

It was one of the episodes that really stuck in my mind for a long time… and I still remember it fondly today.

I actually saw a brief clip of that episode about a week ago and I haven't been able to let it go.

This morning (in the shower, but I wondered if anyone would be freaked out by me mentioning that little tidbit), it really hit home to me why that episode was so important and why I will think about it more going forward.

Lately, I've been struggling with understanding how to communicate just how important I believe prize giveaways (some call them contests) should be to most businesses who want to grow.

And recently, I've been to training to learn how to more effectively sell… which is something not very natural to me (nor to most people).

The mentor I took training from was Joel Bauer. He is very skilled and talented and teaches the art of selling very well.

The first time I was on a webinar with Joel, I was simply stunned at his use of stories and testimonials. And that's what sucked me in to his sphere and he taught me the most effective things.

Of course, it is still hard for me to master and I'm working on it.

But let's get back to that Star Trek episode.

It is sometimes listed in the “top” episodes lists as well.

The story is fascinating because it is wrapped around the crew of the Enterprise meeting a new alien race.

Eventually Captain Picard and the alien's captain are transported down to a planet to spend time with each other alone.

You see, the universal translator doesn't understand how to translate the alien's speech like it does for all the other civilizations the crew encounters.

The captain uses phrases like “Darmok at Tanagra” for example.

The universal translator is able to convert the words into names and places in english, but the phrase itself has no meaning.

And that's because we humans don't know what happened to Darmok at some place called Tanagra. But for the aliens, it describes the situation perfectly and they understand.

The analogy raised by the doctor is that it is like us saying “Juliet on the balcony” when we mean ‘romance' for example.

Ok, now that you know the reference, how does that apply to me? And how does it apply to you as well?

Note: Thanks to Tom Matzen for teaching me to always look at situations to see “how does this apply to me?” – I have it on a post-it note on my monitor as well so I hopefully remember to ask myself that question.

Recently, I've been talking to a lot of people about the topic I started with above… why aren't more people using giveaways to grow their leads and bring new potential clients in their door (or virtual door on the web)?

Mentor Tobin Slaven advised me that when someone asks me a question when talking to them about giveaways, to answer not with technical features, but to answer them with an example of results!

And boom, my mind shifted.

Especially since that advice fits right in with what Joel taught me about sharing results and testimonials!


This morning in that shower, boom! (not that kind of boom… come on… stay with me here)…

Darmok at Tanagra!

This entire civilization built their language around describing situations that the entire culture understood and they grasped the feelings and emotions and logic of what someone else was saying because of the imagery portrayed in the people/place reference.

And that's exactly what I have to do with all y'all… to get you to understand the value of my proposition, I have to speak in results.

It feels like so many pieces of my life are falling into place.

My computer programming background – for 32 years I had to tell stories built on logic and what people expected to have the computer do for them.

My photography background is purely telling stories frozen in time with light and stillness.

My planet5D filmmaking background taught me to tell stories about what people were doing with cameras that record video (light and motion this time) and audio when they were telling stories of their own.

And now, moving into viral marketing, it is about telling stories of results… Those are what people need to hear to be able to understand the WHY of doing what I'm doing and teaching them.

So… what results can you be sharing with your clients?

Are you getting testimonials when someone is happy with your results? If not, why not?

If you aren't, take action now… ask someone you've served before if they'd give you a success story.

I'm eager to hear about your results myself.

Shoot for the moon!