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Mystery

 

Techniques General persuasion > Creating Cognitive Load > Mystery

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Build attention and keep them guessing by presenting a topic as a mystery, with unknown or untold elements. You can use standalone mysteries just to get them thinking, or you can build your key communication into the mystery.

Use components of storytelling to build the tension as you recount the tale. Make it real in their imaginations with interesting detail. Then leave out key points, perhaps presenting these as unknowns.

Example

I need your help. We've been surprised by a government letter. We don't know where it's from and we don't know how urgent it is, but it does seem to have come from the top.

A lady came into the office last night and asked for Andrew. She says he owes her money. Would Andrew go back on an agreement?  

Discussion

Most people find mysteries engaging and interesting and so are drawn in to them. They will treat them as puzzles and will spend mental energy trying to solve them.

Mysteries are easily framed as stories, in which the storyline builds the tension around the mystery and listeners insert themselves into the storyline and so become engaged and engrossed.

See also

Storytelling

 

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