I attended a talk by Kevin O’Leary, financial guru, last evening. It was a work assignment so I had to pay close attention, but I wasn’t particularly interested in the topic. As a result, I was able to observe O’Leary’s presentation techniques. He used three principal tactics.
Draw People In
O’Leary spent the first quarter of his presentation grabbing his audience’s attention and establishing his credibility. He did this by reminding the audience of all the television productions he is involved in and all the celebrities he has met. Well, first of all, people love hearing about stars and they want to feel a connection to them. Secondly, he emphasized that his contact with celebrities gave him insider knowledge that he used to drive his investment strategy.
The message came through loud and clear: “Invest in the O’Leary Funds, and you, like the celebrities, can take advantage of insider knowledge.
Once he’d established his credibility, O’Leary pulled back and showed he was just a regular guy like all the rest of us by telling a story about his mother. His mother worked in the garment industry and every week she and her co-workers would invest some of their earnings. And the lesson she taught her son was, “Never spend the principle, just the interest.”
This, he says, is the fundamental principle behind the O’Leary Funds. This reinforces O’Leary’s credibility by putting a personal spin on the story and making it really concrete. This wasn’t abstract theories; this was what he had learned from his mother.
The third technique O’Leary used was to employ short, memorable taglines that embodied his message. They were easy to remember, easy to understand: “Trust cash.” “Get paid while you wait.” Way, way easier to understand than Capital Preservation or Yield Sustainability.