Today is all about how to create “actionable change.” That’s the fancy phrase for it, but all actionable change really means is “change people can (or will) actually make.”
Since just about every message is a means to that end, it’s important to know how to do it, yes?
Thankfully, the answer is simple: give people enough detail about the change for them to feel confident about making it. Why? Well, that’s the topic of my most recent Message in a Minute video:
Details make the conceptual concrete
Here’s the video’s Red Thread:
- GOAL: You have a great idea… how can you make it more likely someone will actually do something with it?
- PROBLEM: A lot of times we talk about why to make a change. That’s important, of course, but not enough. Because of the three beliefs that always precede change, you need to talk about how to make the change, too. That’s because…
- TRUTH: Details make the conceptual concrete. They turn a loose understanding of an idea into something the audience can picture for themselves—and picture themselves doing.
- CHANGE: That’s why, when you want to create change people will actually act on, make sure to include enough detail for your audience to build confidence in your concept… and in their ability to act on it.
- ACTION: At the minimum, your audience needs just one action, but sometimes you need more than that. In my experience, there are 4 types of actions and action “sets” you can brainstorm and build into your message:
- GOAL REVISITED: Including those actions builds your audience’s confidence in your idea and in themselves. Not only that, brainstorming those actions often helps you build depth and strength into your idea—new angles and avenues that show you just how big your idea really is and how big its impact can be.
How to apply it
But I think it’s important to see how all of these topics intertwine… almost as if there’s a Red Thread running through all I write. Hint: yes, yes there is.
That’s because, when it comes to creating the conditions for change, there’s no true way to separate these topics fully from one another. They are interdependent.
If you want people to act, you need to understand what they need to believe before they’ll do so.
Once you know that, then you know your message needs to do three things:
- Demonstrate that the change you’re talking about is possible to achieve (a Red Thread Storyline is the minimum viable way to do this, especially when combined with a story or case study that illustrates it)
- Show how it’s possible for your audience to make the change themselves (this is where your Actions come in, as well as steps or exercises your audience can do in the moment)
- Show how it’s worth it for your audience to take the action(s) that make the change possible
On that last one, “worth it” means that the overall payoff for the change is worth it. You can achieve one part of that “worth it” belief by articulating your audience’s Goal and Goal Revisited as part of your overall case for change (#1, above).
You achieve the second part of “worth it” with the Actions you’ve outlined to satisfy #2, above). That’s what allows your audience to compare the effort (Actions) to the outcome (Goal and Goal Revisited) and determine whether or not to proceed.
But that’s not the only benefit of articulating the Actions your Change requires.
It also can reveal much greater depths about your idea.
When I’m working directly with my clients on this, I encourage them to brainstorm all four types of Action sets (Processes, Components, Criteria, and Categories). I do that for two reasons. First, because we humans tend to get into patterns of thinking. That means we often have a “default” way of talking about what’s required to take action on our ideas.We humans tend to get into patterns of thinking. That means we often have a 'default' way of talking about what's required to take action on our ideas. Click To Tweet
For example, maybe you always describe your Change in terms of four steps to take (a Process). But maybe just knowing those steps isn’t enough for some of your audience to understand your idea completely, or to have the confidence they need to take them. But, adding in what elements they need to have to take those steps (Components) or what effects those steps will produce (Criteria) may tip the scales in your idea’s favor.
Giving people more angles on your idea helps them—and you!—see and understand it better
That’s the second reason for brainstorming all Action sets (or at least more than one): you’ll see and understand your idea better, too. You’ll start to see more angles and aspects of your idea.
More than once, brainstorming Action sets has led one of my clients to discover they had a whole model that could support their idea. That was the case for Ted Ma and the four levels of his Multilevel Leadership™ idea (I talk about Ted and his idea in my book). It was also the case for my friend and client Matt Ward, who worked with me on his just-released book The High 5 Effect (congratulations, Matt!).
Brainstorming the Actions for your idea gives your idea depth and detail, both of which make it stronger. All of a sudden you discover you have an idea that isn’t just an idea—it’s a process, a method, a movement. Your Actions help you tie what you do to why and how you do it.
The result? An idea that isn’t just strong enough to build on—it’s strong enough to have the impact it deserves to have.Brainstorming the Actions for your idea gives your idea depth and detail, both of which make it stronger. Click To Tweet
Please note that many of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy a thing I link to, I get a percentage of the cost, and then donate it to charity.
How can you get people to actually act on your idea? Add enough detail to build confidence in your concept and in your audience’s ability to act on it. That’s this week’s Message In A Minute. I’m your host Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com and when it comes to articulating your idea, you need to make sure you’re explaining not just why a change or an action is important, but how to make it. And that’s because in order to make a change, people need to believe three things.
Number one, that the change is possible in theory. Number two, that it’s possible for them to do it. And third, that whatever they have to do, to do it, is worth it. And the key to all of that is to add detail because details make the conceptual concrete. They’re able to go from an idea to an actual understanding of what it looks like for them and that helps them build confidence and the confidence they need to act.
Now, not only will that make it more likely that they will act, but you might just discover many new layers to your own idea, that make it not only stronger, but strong enough to build on.
That’s this week’s Message in a Minute. If you want to know more information about how to add those kinds of detail to your idea, or just how to make your idea irresistible, you can find more of that in my book, Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible. I’m Tamsen Webster of Tamsenwebster.com.
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