HOOK wisdom

"For example" are two of the most powerful words to any educator and the most precious to any learner. It's no different with informal education trainers and their students.

To illustrate the variety of ways the engagement hooks in Hook Your Audience can be used, I'm hoping to crowdsource a free online resource -HOOK wisdom - which showcases presenting aphorisms and anecdotes from readers. My aim is to help educators apply the hooks in the book by including a wider range of examples than just science shows. 

These are the kind of contributions I am most interested in collecting:

  • aphorisms: - concise statements which encapsulate important principles about engaging audiences, e.g. insightful observations, pithy advice, reflective questions.
  • anecdotes: - examples of hooks from the book which you use in your presentation routines;
    - "making a difference" presentation incidents which revealed the power and diversity of the outcomes possible in informal education;
    disaster stories from your presentations and how you coped with the mistake or distraction.


What if I don't think I've ever said anything profound enough to be considered an aphorism?

I know how you feel 🙂 But we sometimes forget that what may seem obvious to us, may be a revelation to someone else with different presenting experience. Also, the true value of most presenting aphorisms is in how they provoke us to think, rather than in representing some eternal, objective truth. 

One or two short sentences is a good length to aim for with your soundbites.

Can you give me any guidelines for writing anecdotes?

Here are some style tips to bear in mind as you write your anecdote. I recommend keeping your stories to 100-400 words and saving a copy before pasting it into the form.

  • write from your own experience - the truth is what sells anecdotes.
  • the incident or hook example should be memorable, instructive, amusing or inspirational in some way.
  • to be blunt - the shorter your anecdote, the more likely educators are to read it. But try to include enough details to bring the scenario to life in our imaginations, whilst still being as concise as possible.
  • craft the structure of your story to create curiosity and conflict.
  • use an active voice and include dialogue, where appropriate. Tell us how you were feeling and what you were thinking during the incident.
  • devise an attention-grabbing, short title for the anecdote.
  • to protect their privacy, avoid referring to other people in the story in a way in which they can be recognised.
  • remember to draw out the lesson you learnt from this experience for others to benefit from. These hooks and presentation lessons should be the focus on the story, so don't worry about including full descriptions of the activity that triggered the incident.

How likely is it my submissions will be published?

Fair question. At this stage, however, I don't know how many submissions I will receive and what the best structure will be to organise them. It may be that I reluctantly have to turn down some excellent submissions simply because I get too many from the same sector or illustrating the same hook.

The best advice I can give is to follow the writing guidelines suggested above and perhaps to focus on some of the less common engagement hooks in the book.

If accepted, will I be able to approve my submission before it's published?

Yes. Your submissions may need to be lightly edited for issues such as length, personally identifiable details, health and safety disclaimers, etc. So any content which is accepted for publication in HOOK wisdom will be emailed to you for final approval before it is published.

Do I retain the copyright for my contribution?

Yes, at all times you retain full copyright.

If, at any time in the future, there is a demand to create a paid resource which includes these insights as part of the product, I will contact each contributor first to seek explicit permission to include their submission.

Who will be able to read my published story or aphorism?

Published submissions will appear in the online HOOK wisdom resource - this will be free to access, but require users to sign up first. However, as some users may distribute content outside the platform (e.g. for in-house training), it is safer to assume that what you contribute may be publicly visible.

If I want to feature any stories on a public webpage or social media, to help promote the resource and the power of engagement hooks, I will seek your permission first.

How can I attribute my story?

Including details of the author name and organisation helps persaude readers of the credibility of the source. However, some of the most instructive stories may be personal or painful in some way, so you may wish to anonymise your identity, fully or partially, using the attribution option in the form below.

If you wish to include your organisation name, please check that you have permission to do this first - thanks.

Submission form

HOOK training