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Dazzle Your Listeners — Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

Posted July 12, 2012 by Terri Sjodin in Archive, Public Speaking, Sales Presentations, Small Message Big Impact

Have you seen the movie “21” (2008)?  The film was inspired by the true story of MIT students who mastered the art of card counting and took Las Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

As the film opens, we see Ben, the main character, dressed smartly and sitting in an austere Harvard Medical School office with Professor Phillips.  We learn that Ben has been accepted early into Harvard, pending his graduation from MIT.  Ben is hoping to receive the prestigious Robinson Scholarship, which provides a comprehensive full ride for the Harvard Medical School program.  To punctuate his desire to earn the scholarship, Ben delivers a missive to Professor Phillips explaining that it has always been his dream to attend HMS, and now that he has been accepted into the program, the only obstacle in his way is the ability to finance the education.  In short, he explains that he needs the scholarship.

The professor leans back and says sarcastically, “Did you rehearse that?” Ben replies sheepishly, “Yes, I did, about 14 times in the mirror.”  At this point the professor goes on to explain that unfortunately, desire and need have very little to do with the selection process of the winner of the Robinson scholarship.  He tells Ben that all 76 applicants have impressive résumés, just as he does. Yet only one of them will get the scholarship. It will go to someone who dazzles, who jumps off the page.

Ben struggles for a minute, trying to describe how he is involved in a science competition in which he is designing a proprietary GPS system for a robotic wheel. Unimpressed, the professor interrupts Ben to clarify what the committee is looking for in a scholarship recipient. “Ben, explain to us what makes you special,” he says. “What life experience separates you from the rest?”

“Life experience?” asks Ben.

In a challenging but encouraging tone, Professor Phillips prompts him:  “What can you tell me, Ben, that’s going to ‘dazzle’ me?”

How Do You Dazzle to Win?

As the opening credits rolled and music played, Ben voiced a narrative that set the stage for the movie’s ultimate plot about counting cards. He shared an anecdote about a Chinese blackjack dealer who used to shout out “Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!” every time he dealt a blackjack hand. The phrase stuck and other blackjack dealers started using it. The expression is heard throughout the movie whenever someone hits the optimum winning hand.

Ultimately, it is my goal to help you create that winning hand in your next presentation opportunity.

Ask yourself: How can I tell my story, whether I am selling a product, a service, a philosophy, an idea or myself? How will my message dazzle?

Don’t worry if this feels a bit daunting. Like anything else that succeeds, a solid three-minute elevator speech, or “winning” sales presentation” doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, trial and error, creativity and practice. With a little effort and some guidance you will be on your way.

As always, my goal is to help you create your own unique presentations, the kind that will help you to walk out of your next appointment shouting your version of “Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!” —TS

Have you read Small Message, Big Impact? If not, then order your copy today by visiting: http://www.sjodincommunications.com/pilot.asp?pg=whatsnew (also available as an audiobook)


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