We want to put an intractable problem in front of an irresistible goal for our audience because it creates context. It makes the goal more valuable because the audience feels like they need to work harder for it, and it creates urgency because they really want to solve that problem. The difficulty, however, is that often the context we’re providing is something the audience already knows.
If we’re presenting people with something they already know, there’s no gap to close to make something irresistible. Contrast is what brings clarity: 1.) the contrast between where your audience thinks they are with where they actually are; and 2.) the contrast between where they actually are and where they could be. This is how you create those gaps that people find irresistible.
The trick is to focus on the Problem of perspective that’s getting in their way. Problems of perspective tend to be invisible, so that helps with the gap #1. You also need to provide that contrast in the Problem itself, the contrast between their perspective right now and what it looks like from the other side. That’s how you address gap #2.
When you combine an irresistible Goal with the invisible Problem of perspective, you’ve set up the perfect situation for your audience to be ready for the Idea that makes ignoring that Problem impossible. More on that next step next week.
– You have a big idea that you want, maybe even need, to make irresistible to other people. And last time we talked about how to start that process by giving people a Goal: an irresistible outcome that they’ll get from your idea if they listen to it and eventually act on it. But how do we get them closer to that idea itself and to that action that you want? Well it’s pretty simple. You present them with a Problem. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com and that’s what we’re talking about this week on Find the Red Thread.
It makes all kinds of sense that we want to put an intractable problem in the way of an irresistible goal to our audience because it provides context. First of all, it helps that goal feel ultimately more valuable because the audience realizes they will have to work for that goal and it won’t just be handed to them. There’s lots of research that suggests that we value things more that we’ve had to work or struggle for.
The second thing it provides context on is urgency. The more that we articulate and describe a problem in the way of the goal, the more that people are likely to feel that they must find a solution quickly. So this is important, except all to often that context that we’re providing is stuff that people already know. And if people already know everything about it, then there’s no gap to close, nothing’s irresistible. They’re just going to stay right where they are, and that’s the opposite of what we want.
Here’s why that’s so important because contrast is what brings clarity. The more that you can contrast where they think they are with where they actually are, and with where they actually are with where they could be, the more that you’ve created opportunities for those gaps that people find irresistible. So we want to make sure that wherever we can, we are making it crystal clear to people where those gaps actually exist. Which means it’s not just about finding a problem to put in front of people, it’s about finding the problem to put in front of them: the problem of perspective that’s getting in their way.
Now, the nice thing about problems of perspective, rather than the things that everybody already knows, is that they tend to be invisible which means you’ve already created that gap between where somebody thinks they are and where they actually are. So once you’ve created this problem of perspective that says, you know, “I understand that you’re trying to get this thing. I understand that you’ve been trying all these different solutions to get there. But you know what? If you look at all these solutions, they all add up to looking at the situation this way.” Maybe it’s, “You’re looking at it from the outside,” or, “You’re looking at it from these surface details,” or, “You’re looking at it as pieces and parts.”
The first moment that you do that, all the sudden you’re creating a gap between they’ve been thinking about things and the way that they could be thinking about things. So that’s important.
The second piece that we want to do is make sure that we’re providing that contrast in the problem itself, which means don’t just give them how they’re looking at it now, give them the opposite side of the gap so they can see both sides. So, if they’re looking at things from external validation, contrast that with but there’s internal validation as well. If they’re looking at things as shallow, so contrast that with there’s a deep way of looking at this as well. Say if they’re looking at things as pieces and parts, contrast that with there’s a way to look at this as a process as well.
So it isn’t just about looking at the forest or the trees, it’s about showing them they’re only looking at part of the picture and not seeing all of it. When you present a problem that way, now you achieved all the contextual contrast, all the contrasting context that you could possibly want. Because you’ve created not only this gap between where they think they are and where they actually are, but because you’ve shown the other side, now you’ve shown the other part of that gap between where they actually are and where they could be which is going to be a combination of both.
When you have now that irresistible goal with that invisible problem of perspective, then you’ve set up a perfect situation for someone to be ready to listen to one more critical piece of information, the Idea that makes ignoring that problem impossible. And that is what we’re going to talk about next week.
So when you are putting your Red Thread for your idea together, find that irresistible goal and then work to find that invisible problem of perspective. And make sure you’re showing both sides of it to your audience as you’re describing it because that’s going to setup that critical piece of information you need for the idea that comes next. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com and that’s this week’s episode of Find the Red Thread. If you enjoyed it, you found it useful, please let me know at TamsenWebster.com/contact or if you need help finding your own, that’s the same place to contact me. Talk to you next time.