I think I may be over-generalising, but here are two stories that showed me how straightforward it can be to connect with the people one wants to reach.
Christopher Hitchens would make a lousy terrorist [via GOOD Magazine] – What an idea!: To convince lawmakers that waterboarding may reasonably be construed as torture find out if waterboarding may reasonably be construed as torture, recruit 50 lawyers to undergo 5 seconds of breathing through a water-soaked cloth. Offering a physical, memorable experience: I think that’s a visceral way of connecting with people and getting them to see a point of view. By the way, journalist and brave chap Christopher Hitchens went through it and lived to tell the tale. But, as he writes, it is far from clear what the conclusion is: That waterboarding makes one shaky and scared and is therefore effective as an interrogation technique? Or that waterboarding makes one shaky and scared and therefore eager to say anything?
When you least expect it [via Seth’s Blog] – What an (entirely happier) idea!: When processing an order for printing T-shirts, pay attention to what is being printed; if it’s for a good cause, see if you can further that cause, thus connecting with your customer. I think it’s fairly safe to say that this would create a “Wow!” moment. If you’re a believer in what Jan Carlzon (formerly the President of Scandinavian Airlines) called “moments of truth”, creating as many of these as possible and then differentiating your product/service at these moments can really boost that word-of-mouth goodwill.*
*Here’s what he said in his book “Moments of Truth”, published in 1987:
Last year, each of our 10 million customers came in contact with approximately five SAS employees, and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time. Thus, SAS is “created” in the minds of our customers 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time. These 50 million “moments of truth” are the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company. They are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative.