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It’s the wrongness that gets our attention

We learn theory in order to be right but the coolest part that gets your attention is the wrongness. – Victor Wooten

We can give an amazing speech by doing all the right things. In fact, that’s exactly what most people strive for when preparing for an important speech such as a keynote or a big product launch. They try to get everything right.

Only that it’s not the rightness that gets our attention but the wrongness. Because all the other great speeches do all the right things, too. Because right never hurts. Because right never breaks our expectations. Right is just, well, right.

But when there’s a wrong note, our audiences take notice. Their expectations are broken. Their curiosity kicks in. Their figuring-out-what-comes-next brain-mode is ignited.

That’s why the great speeches that you recall right now, when I ask you to think of one, are precisely the ones that didn’t do everything in order.

It’s exactly like world-class bass player Victor Wooten describes it when he continues with the above quote:

When I just played the right notes, that’s “cool, cool!”. But if I want you to go “oooooh”, I stick a wrong note in there. So, the coolest notes are the wrong ones.

I urge you to watch the full interview and also listen to the musical examples (this part starts at the 5 minute mark). It’s well worth your time.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz