The Questions You Want Your Audience to Ask
Our idea of what people need to make a change is really different from what information they actually need, and the key difference is the distinction between curiosity and knowledge. We want people to be asking questions, to provide the kind of knowledge that leads to curiosity so that the audience moves themselves along the Red Thread.
Curiosity is foundational to how the Red Thread works because if you give people a Goal and show them that they aren’t getting it, the natural question is “Why not?” That’s where the Problem comes in, and then the Idea and the Change and the Actions.
However, we want to make sure that by the time we get the Actions that there’s no fundamentally new information. By the time we’re talking about actions we don’t want people asking new questions, the only question they should ask is: What’s the next best place I can use this and what does this mean for me?
– Even if we’ve done the work to make sure that our important idea is interesting, to make it irresistible to people, we have to keep them engaged with it. They have to continue to find it irresistible. So how do we do that? Well that’s what we’re talking about this week on Find The Red Thread, and I’m Tamsen Webster, your host at TamsenWebster.com.
When we’ve got an irresistible idea, it’s so tempting, I know, just to tell people all about it and give them all the information they need to make the action and make the change that you want them to make. Except, of course, we’ve talked about this a lot in that our idea of what information people need in order to make that change is really different from what information they actually need, because there’s a big difference between curiosity and knowledge when it comes to driving action.
Knowledge, of course, is something that is given, received, and then it’s something that you have. So if I learn a thing, it’s hard for me unlearn it. So I’ve got that, I’ve got that piece of information. But this is why if you just tell people the answer, if you just tell people this is what you need to do, one of the reasons why it’s not as effective as a way of getting your message across. Not only does it kick in that initial resistance that psychological reactance that makes people resistant, even to the things that they want to do, but it means that you’ve just given them the answer. There’s no curiosity about it. And the best, that’s where you are, but at worst, you’re in the position of having to defend that change, that knowledge that you’ve just given them.
So on the opposite side, or the other perspective that we’re looking for here when it comes to knowledge, we want to balance knowledge with curiosity. We want people to be asking questions. Why? Well, because comprehension, curiosity, comes from questions so we want to make sure that the knowledge that we give people is the kind of knowledge that creates curiosity. The kind of knowledge that creates questions. Because the more questions people ask not only will they understand it more clearly, but they will also be the ones moving themselves along this path to the change that you’ve outlined.
So, how do you do that? Well, you’re probably going to guess by now that you follow the Red Thread. I mean, I’ve probably said before that my unofficial tagline is, “I overthink so you don’t have to.” I don’t want you to have to worry about how do I set up the information in such a way that creates curiosity because I already figured it out!
I already figured out that if you give people a Goal and then you show them that they are not getting it right now, that you’ve created curiosity about the question of well, why not, and that’s where the Problem comes in. And once you’ve described that Problem as incomplete perspective, then you’ve created more curiosity between “Well, huh, I’m not even where I thought I was, why not? And what do I have to understand next?”
And that’s where the Idea comes in. And once you give them the Idea, now you’re in a position to get them to think about like, “Well, huh, that must explain why I haven’t been getting the thing that I wanted, but, and this is where they start to move themselves forward, it might mean that the Change looks like this.” And in classic murder mystery style, you know I’m a fan, the audience starts to figure out, your customer starts to figure out where to go next on their own. They start to see the shape of the solution themselves.
And that’s the moment where you give them the Change. “Well, how do I do this,” they say? That’s where the Change comes in. And then when they’re saying, “but can I do this?” Well, you’re giving them Actions. But remember what I’ve talked about before. We want to make sure that by the time we get to the Actions there’s no fundamentally new information. You may package it differently by the time they get to the Actions, but all the concepts, all the backup, all the reasons why those Actions are the right actions to take should have come earlier.
Because by the time that you’re getting people to really think how to put a Change into place, that’s when you actually don’t want them asking more questions. You want them to only be asking one. “Where’s the next best place I can use this and what does this mean for me?” Okay, so that was two questions. But those are the questions that you want. Not, “Wait, I don’t understand, what does this mean?” And worse, “Oh, okay, I got it, I don’t need anything else.”
When we get people to be asking questions we keep them curious, which means we keep them moving, which means we keep them changing, and that’s the key to making change happen long term. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com.
If you’re curious about how to think through putting this information in the right place, this is something I refer to as a visual outline. It can be very helpful to get all of these concepts in one place, in like a storyboard. I call it a Talk Block Outline. Blocks not only because there’s different blocks we fill in, but also because by filling them in we remove all the mental blocks your reader, your audience, your potential customer might have to your message. It’s the second step after we’ve worked together to figure out your Red Thread.
So, if you’re still figuring out what your Red Thread might be, sign up for a future Red Thread Weekend. You can find more information and dates at RedThreadWeekend.com. The earlier you reserve, the less expensive it is. Yay! Alright, so that’s how to make sure that you keep mystery and suspense and curiosity going in your message. How you combine knowledge and curiosity to create the change that you’re looking for. I’m Tamsen Webster at TamsenWebster.com. Thanks so much. If you love this episode then share it, and share it widely. Subscribe on YouTube, iTunes, and Libsyn, and tell other friends about it. Thanks so much, see you next time.