Back in August of this year, I quoted employee benefit professional Mel Schlesinger who’d recommended a very effective sales technique called "Oh, by the way". The idea was that, after a prospect or client had agreed to move forward with a purchase, the salesperson, on the way out the door, would describe an add-on service or product feature. Often an additional sale would follow. (Had the salesperson gone into detail about all the possible benefits and features, the theory goes, the customer might have become overwhelmed and postponed making any buying decision.)
I found that whole idea very apropos for business blogging. As a blogging trainer, I’ve always stressed the importance of having each blog post emphasize one – and only one – key concept. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with offering online readers extra information if they want it, using the simple mechanism of an after-thought and a "click here" option.
Always fascinated with word tidbits and new expressions, I learned just the other day (my Mensa friend Jud Horning happened to mention this expression in another context) that there’s a French idiom that exactly fits the "Oh, by the way" technique in blogging.
The expression "avoir l’esprit de l’escalier" literally means having as much wit as a staircase.
We’ve all had that experience. Minutes, or even days later, we think of what we should have said in answer to an out-of-line personal question, a quip, or even an insult. American humorist Burgess, who died in 1951, called these what-you-wish-you’d-said things "tintiddles". Because we did not have a quick wit, (even a staircase or a chair might have been quicker with a response than we!), it’s too late we think of the most fabulous retorts.
As a professional ghost blogger for business, I still maintain that focus is key to effective business blogging. But, should you wish to offer "extra credit work" to the "gifted students" among your "class" of online readers, do it in the form of a "tintiddle or "avoir l’esprit de l’escalier"!