At a time when new technologies seem to appear every day, most folks are becoming overwhelmed. While they’re impressed by all the new features and opportunities, and while many can see at least some of how these new advances will benefit them, the sheer volume of information is pushing a growing number of people into overload.

How can you help people understanding something new and unfamiliar without overwhelming them? A tried-and-true tactic is to connect that unfamiliar object or process with something that’s very familiar and quite simple. It’s a tactic effective copywriters have used for decades, and it’s even more applicable today, because it can help to overcome resistance to new ideas.

For example, back when cell phone technology was very new (and phones were the size of bricks), many potential customers didn’t understand how they could remain connected while traveling down the road. Since they didn’t understand the technology, they couldn’t trust it, and were unwilling to invest. I helped one cell phone carrier overcome those concerns by comparing a cell phone to the batons used in relay races. During a race, the baton is handed off from runner to runner, but it is always in at least one runner’s firm grasp. Similarly, cell towers hand connections off to the next tower, but not until both towers ensure that the call remains connected.

Another example goes back to the adoption of molded rubber as a gasketing material for automotive engines. Service technicians were wary of rubber oil pan gaskets, because they were so different from the familiar cork gaskets that had been used for decades. What made this material work better? The key was rubber’s inherent memory, which I explained by using a very common object: a rubber band. You can stretch, twist, or crumble a rubber band, and it will snap right back into shape. Molded rubber gaskets work the same way. That simple explanation was more convincing than any engineering argument could be.

If you make the explanation simple, and you make it familiar, you’ll overcome fear and resistance every time.

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