by Len Wilson, contributing writer
Many leaders are secretly insecure about their creativity. They develop solid, accurate content but it doesn’t really inspire. Typically, the missing ingredient is a good hook. The hook is the central metaphor that holds up your entire idea. It’s the key to making any idea extraordinary. Creating compelling hooks is not a master skill. Any leader can learn to do it with practice. Here are a few tips to creating a good hook:
- Make It Exact. Good hooks start with specific concepts. They provide tangible solutions to market and emotional needs. A market need is a problem that needs to be addressed. An emotional need is the gut feeling, often fear, that drives your audience. Always ask yourself, “What problem does this idea solve?”
- Make It Visual. A Japanese-American leader compiled a document to improve the leadership skills of the pastors in his care. The document read like a dissertation. The concepts were helpful but boring. One key concept repeatedly surfaced in the material: leadership can be improved. While exploring ways to visualize the key idea, I remembered the word kaizen, a post-World War II corporate concept that many credit with the resurrection of Japan. It is a compound word: the first symbol, 改, “kai,” means “to change, to correct;” the second symbol, 善, “zen,” means “good.” Together, kaizen roughly means, “continuous correction and improvement.” The key theme quickly became, “Spiritual Kaizen: How to Become a Better Church Leader.” We used Japanese symbols to create striking images that helped the leaders remember the key message.
- Make It Intriguing. Offer just enough to capture a person’s interest. Don’t waste time explaining every idea. Raise questions rather than answering them. Hooks intrigue people and make them come back for more.
- Make It Authentic. The hook needs to be indigenous to you and to your audience. The same concept may not work with different audiences.