Communication of Patterns

 In Guest Blogs

Ann Grasso Pattern Art introduces guest blogger, Rebecca Mead.

Rebecca is the Virtual Assistant for the AnnGrassoPatternArt website. I would be lost without her. Or perhaps it would be fairer to say, you would not be reading this blog without her technology skills. Knowing which buttons to press is only the beginning, however. She offers so much more. I trust you will enlighten yourself by visiting her website.

And now the page is hers.


One of the oldest tenets of marketing communications is the “rule of seven,” meaning that the prospective customer will need to be touched by a marketing message seven times before buying a product or service. Today, the touch ratio is far higher, given our noisy, technology-driven world. We are exposed to, as some studies indicate, between 3,000 and 20,000 advertising messages per day, and see approximately 247 images daily, aimed at persuading us to take action – to buy.

The most successful messages – those that resonate with you, engage you, and persuade you to act – are ideas conveyed through story, or the communication through patterns.

Our cultural and religious evolution through oral traditions relied on repetition to convey ideas, teach lessons, and maintain connection to our histories. Along with story, song composition and chorus repetition emphasize ideas, poems use rhyme, stanzas, and meter to enhance inflection, and music pulls you in through harmony and melody. As a species, we’re physiologically affected by patterns – whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic – and the best storytellers, including politicians, clergy, teachers, and marketers, understand this well, and use it to their advantage.

duarte-story-patternAbout five years ago, I had the fortunate happenstance to hear Nancy Duarte speak at TedxEast in New York City on “The Structure of Great Talks.” What Nancy developed, and calls story structure, overlays all great talks – from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I have a Dream speech, to Steve Jobs’ iPhone product launch – I would call the communication of patterns. In each, the speaker used a series of vignettes to engage the listener with the current state of “what is” and present and persuade through illustrating the possible, or the “what could be.”

Since hearing Nancy speak, I’ve gone back and really listened to all three speeches again – as well as many others – to better understand the patterns, and have taken away a much richer understanding of how the speaker used repetition of the “what is” and “what could be” to get a populous to buy-in and take action.

I encourage you to spend 20 minutes with Nancy’s talk – not only is she an engaging storyteller, but I believe she can teach us all how to be more effective at conveying our unique stories and encouraging our audiences to engage with us.

Please share… who are your favorite storytellers or speakers, and why do they resonate with you?

Showing 3 comments
  • patsy monk

    Ted talks are very special jewels of wisdom.

    In my other professional job, storytelling is an important part of communication. (Not telling ‘untruths, telling our personal stories to benefit others )

    This 18:12 min video is very appropriate to anyone with a dream, idea, or information they wish to share with others, whether for fun or their livelihood.

    So far, I have watched and listened twice and appreciate it more each time!
    Thank you Rebecca!!!

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      Ann Grasso

      patsy – not everyone will know that you prefer lower case p and lower case m for your name. I just want to shout out to you for taking the time to comment on Rebecca’s interesting blog. It certainly contains information new to me.

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      Ann Grasso

      Patsy – so glad you not only enjoyed Nancy’s Ted Talk, but got real value out of her insights. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with me! Rebecca

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