Pass the Popcorn, Please

I love using the power of a good story in my classroom. As a part of my class this fall, each student takes a turn, sharing a story about an entrepreneur’s inspiration and journey to the marketplace.

This week, it was Stephanie’s turn to share her story about Brian Taylor, a guy whose relatively ordinary name might lead you to believe he might have nothing distinctive to offer the world. A philosophy major at the University of Michigan, his friends begged him to share the fabulous popcorn seasonings he created – and the idea was born for Kernel Seasons. Using money from his summer jobs, Taylor worked with flavor experts to develop fourteen flavors without butter, salt or MSG and upon graduation, launched his business.

Stephanie could have just taken us to the website and read a written report. But this sharp student understood a basic element of connecting with her audience; she drew them in with not one, not two, but six lunch sacks with popcorn samples flavored with different Kernel Seasons products. (Little did she know that one of her professor’s longtime favorite addictions is popcorn.) As she regaled us with this entrepreneur’s story, we happily munched on garlic parmesan, kettle corn, ranch, nacho, butter, and white cheddar popcorn. And, being the thoughtful gal that she is, Stephanie also provided us with napkins, handwipes, and a bottle of water.

Without being told, Stephanie knew a pivotal secret of connecting with her intended target market: the more senses you employ, the more memorable (you and) your information becomes. She had the visual stimulation of images projected, taste of the Kernel Seasons products, and the delicious smell (the sense which connects most powerfully with our memory) of the popcorn going for her.

So, how can you make your next presentation stronger?? (Oh – and pass the popcorn, please.)

Photo courtesy of carabou on Flickr, “Popcorn Cupcake,”

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