Making Your Message Memorable
Our brains continually make split-second decisions about what to hold onto and what to let go of. As communicators, we need to make sure we’re giving our listeners the hooks they need hold onto our message, and we do that by making meaning.
So how do we make meaning? By connecting each piece of information that you present to one of the steps of the Red Thread. These statements are designed to create universal pieces of meaning that all of us share.
When you’re looking at how your message is organized, you need to make sure that the pieces of the Red Thread show up either as an introduction to or summary of the information that you present. That way you can be sure you’re giving your audience the hooks they need to remember your key information.
– Imagine you’re hosting a party at your house in the middle of winter, which means everybody’s wearing a heavy coat. When the first guest arrives they hand you their coat, but before you have a chance to hang it up the next guest arrives and hands you their coat. And then the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And all of sudden, you’ve got an armful of coats that are fast finding their way to the floor.
What does this have to do with you and messaging? Because when we’re trying to transfer information from us to our audience, too often we’re giving our audience too many coats and not enough hooks. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com, and that’s what we’re talking about this week on Find the Red Thread.
Our brains have to process an enormous amount of information. So much, in fact, that we forget more information than we retain. That’s because the brain has to make millions of split-second decisions about what to let go and what to retain. That creates a problem for us as communicators, of course, because we don’t want to be part of the information that’s let go. We want to make sure that our information is part of what stays.
So how is it that the brain decides what stays? This is where the coats and hooks come in. I want you to think of the coats as all the information that the brain has to take in the front door, and the hooks are where it sees whether or not it’s got a place to hang it. If there’s a place to hang a new piece of information, if there’s a place that is meaningful for that particular person’s brain, that information will stick. No hook though, no stick.
Now, what does this really mean? Well, it really means that meaning provides hooks. The brain will retain information that it finds meaningful. How can you know that? Well, it’s different person to person, of course, but there are certain things that we all have in common. And those meaningful hooks are what’s represented by the pieces of the Red Thread. The Goal, what is it that I want? The Problem, what’s getting in the way of what I want? The Idea, what can I do to understand this more deeply? Change, what can I do to act on that new understanding? And action, how do I make that change actually happen?
Those pieces of meaning are universal. And so, as communicators, if we make sure not only that those pieces exist in our messages, in our communications, but that they also have clear hooks then our information will stick.
What do I mean by a clear hook? Well, make sure that each of those pieces of the Red Thread is represented by at least one statement, phrase, sentence, proverb, mantra that you put into that message or presentation that represents that meaningful piece of information. Say what that is. Either as introduction to or as a summary of the information that you’re presenting to the audience. When you do that, you make sure that they’ve always got a hook to hang the coats of information that you’re giving them.
If you want to find your own Red Thread, go to findyourredthread.com, and download the free Red Thread Worksheet. And if you have any questions about that, or want to work with me more one-on-one to develop it, contact me at TamsenWebster.com/contact.