The power of surprise

Just came off a live broadcasting gig in Chicago recently.

Pre-show, my co-host and I were messing around with our next guests, joking and teasing, and talking generally about the show. We could tell right away that the interview we were about to conduct was going to be a good one. Our guests were natural communicators.

But then our sound engineer lead the countdown, and we went live.

And then boom, it was all business. We shifted from telling jokes to talking business and strategy. We shifted from relaxed, gentle voices to our radio voices, and we went to work.

Oh, we still had a good time and had fun doing the interview, but we were all business.

When we went off the air, one of the guests said to us, “Wow, you guys are real pros. I wasn’t expecting that. At all. Jeez, what a pleasant surprise!”

As luck would have it, I ran into this same gentleman the next day. And he was still commenting on how surprised he was at what a cool experience being on the radio had been for him and his colleague.

And naturally, it got me thinking. His surprise is the magic elixir in all this, for as a result, he will remember and treasure the experience. And his relationship with us will forever be on a higher plane.

Quite obviously, this is something you should strive for.

Not for the purpose of purposefully surprising anyone, but rather, to create an experience, to build a product that is so unexpected that it leads to genuine surprise.

This has strange powers, and it is hard to explain.

To repeat, if you concentrate on trying to surprise someone, it will come off as fake. But if you work hard to create that experience that is so good that is naturally surprises someone, that has real impact.

After all, life is just made more interesting when it surprises you from time to time, you know?


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