“How’s the recovery going here after the oil spill?” I asked the cab driver as I exited the Lafayette airport and climbed into his cab for the short ride to the hotel.
“Slow. But it’s not the oil spill that’s the issue. We have yet to see any tar balls around here. We don’t have a problem with BP or Chevron or Schlumberger. Oil is our life here. It’s the over-reaction that has us shut down—government regulations. My business is down 50 percent.”
“So what did you think about the elections this week?” I asked.
“Just flew to Houston yesterday to vote my opinion.”
“You flew to Houston to vote?”
“Yeah. I haven’t had time to change my official residence yet.”
My mind started to whir back to the $540 price of my economy coach airfare.
“Did you think of absentee-voting?”
“I missed the window.” He pulled up at the airport hotel for me to get out. “Just a day to fly in and out.” He chatted on about how his two-cab fleet was suffering in the economy as we rode along.
As I crawled out of the cab, the thought continued to pop into my mind the rest of the evening. “I flew to Houston yesterday to vote.” Said as if it were a natural thing to do. He was a cab driver—not a movie star or a business mogul. It hit me again the next morning as I dressed for the day. “I flew to Houston yesterday to vote.” It echoed in my ears as I read the morning news. And again as I ate breakfast. He flew to Houston to vote.
Two things struck me about that interaction: The first: How many other Americans didn’t even drive down the street to exercise their right to communicate with their elected representatives? The second: The power of shocking statements to engage.
Consider using them more often in your business conversations and presentations to lay out a compelling case.