Focus on the Meaning
We want to make our message memorable, but how do we make it memorable to us? When we focus on memorizing things word-for-word, we often forget the meaning behind those words. The problem is that, as the Red Thread teaches us, it’s the meaning that matters. The meaning, not the words, is what transfers from person to person. It’s why we remember “Play it again Sam” from Casablanca, even though that line wasn’t actually in the movie.
As message makers trying to remember and help other people remember our message, we need to find a way to keep the focus on the meaning. That’s why the Red Thread is so focused on story and narrative. We care about motivations: what someone wants, why they want it, and what they’re going to do to get it. Or, to put it in terms of the Red Thread, your Goal, a Problem that might be getting in your way, an Idea that explains why you want all of those things, and a Change that results.
When you’re trying to make your message memorable to you, internalize, don’t memorize. That doesn’t mean you won’t find language and phrases that you’ll want to use over and over again, but when you focus on the meaning you’ll find the best way to say those words.
– We want to make our messages memorable, but how do we make them memorable to us? How do we make sure that whether we’re in individual or an organization, we remember what it is that we really want to get across? I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com, and this is Find the Red Thread.
It makes sense that if you want to remember something to say to somebody else, then you would memorize it, right? You’d remember each word, and how it happens, and in what order? Well yes, but not quite, because when we focus on memorizing things word for word we unfortunately too often miss the meaning behind those words. We forget what the words are really supposed to say. And that’s a problem for a lot of the reasons we’ve talked about often here on Find the Red Thread, the biggest of which is that it’s the meaning that matters.
It’s the meaning, not the words that transfer from one person to another, it’s the meaning of what you say that people remember. Don’t believe me? Then think about the most famous line you can recall from the movie Casablanca. I’m going to bet it’s, “Play it again, Sam.”
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “But yeah, they didn’t actually say that line in the movie,” and exactly right, they never did exactly say that line in the movie, you’re right. But why do we remember, “Play it again, Sam?” Because it’s the meaning that was trying to get across in more precise language than what the script actually said. In fact, the meaning ends up being more precise. So if you want to be precise to the script, recite the line as it was actually said. If you want to be precise to the meaning then you’re going to say, “Play it again, Sam.”
What this has to do with us as message makers trying to remember, and also trying to help other people remember, is that we need to focus on the meaning. And that’s one of the main reasons why the Red Thread is designed to be as simple as it is. It’s designed for you to remember what we as humans remember. We remember, we pay attention to, we find meaningful the things that drive a story, a narrative, that drive a tale of some sort forward.
Things like a character’s actions or motivations, or an organization’s actions and motivations, or your actions and motivations. All of those things tie together in what people want, why they want it, and what they’re going to do as a result. And that sounds an awful lot like the Goal, a Problem that might be getting in the way, an Idea that explains why they want all of those things, and a Change that results.
So, when you’re trying to make your message memorable to you, internalize, don’t memorize. Internalize the concepts that make up the Red Thread. Does that mean that you’ll not find exact words that you want to use over and over again? Of course not. Of course you want to find those words. But when you focus on the meaning, you’ll eventually find the best way to say those words. Just like we do with that line from Casablanca. If you need help finding your Red Thread in the first place, go to findyourredthread.com and download the Red Thread worksheet. I’m Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com, and I hope you find your Red Thread.