The Steps From “No” to “Yes”
When we put a message out there, we want to make sure that people end up thinking differently afterward. You want to persuade your audience to say yes. The challenge is that sitting between where somebody is and where you want them to be is a giant, yawning gap that Tamsen calls the “No Hole.”
One of the most powerful forces in the universe is homeostasis, the urge to maintain the status quo. This can be a big problem if we’re trying to get someone to make a change, to persuade your audience to say yes. The problem is that the distance between where someone is and where we’re asking them to be is often too big for them to get there in just one step.
The key is to understand how people make decisions. If you can introduce the right information to persuade your audience to say yes to the smaller steps that make up the pieces of the Red Thread, you can build up to get a yes for the bigger steps, too. The key, as Tamsen explains, is to make sure you think through each step to understand where you’re going to have the biggest trouble getting someone to say yes. That way, you know where to spend your energy to succeed.
We want to make sure that when we put a message out there that people end up doing or thinking differently afterward. So what’s the challenge there? The challenge is that sitting in between where somebody is and where you want them to be. It’s a giant yawning gap that I like to call the “No Hole.” I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com, and we’re talking about that this week on Find the Red Thread.
One of the most powerful forces in the universe is something called homeostasis. This need we have, even at a cellular level, to stay exactly the same. What that means is that when we’re presented with new information — new ways to think or behave — our default position is to say no and to maintain the status quo. Obviously, if we’re somebody who is trying to get people to change the status quo, to change how they’re thinking or behaving, that’s a little bit of an issue. So what’s really going on?
Well, what’s really going on is that the distance between where somebody is and where we’re asking them to be is often way too big for them to be able to take one big step to get over there. Bettina Warburg, in her TED Talk, refers to this as the “trust leap.” And it’s a trust leap that’s required to get over this giant No Hole and persuade your audience to say yes.
So, how do we do something different here? Well, what we have to understand is that when we align with how people make decisions, then we’re able to make those steps smaller. Which means if we can then introduce those pieces of information and persuade your audience to say yes to those smaller steps, we can more effectively get them to say yes to the bigger steps.
What are those steps? Well, you guessed it, they’re the pieces of the Red Thread. It’s also why the Goal is the first one that we have to start with. If it’s well-crafted, it’s an automatic yes. It’s the thing that people readily want, they want to know more about. They want to know how to achieve that goal. So, that’s your first yes.
The second yes that you have to get is understanding and agreement with the Problem. You agree with the Goal, yes. Do you now agree that this is the real problem that we’re solving? Yes. Once you’ve got that yes, then they’re ready to hear more information.
Then they want to know, “Well, why is that Problem such a problem, and what is so different about it that I have to change how I behave?” Well, that’s the Idea. So, the next job you’ve got is to get people to understand and agree with the Idea. You want this goal? “Yes.” Do you agree with this problem? “Yes.” Do you now understand and agree with this idea that explains that problem? “Oh, yes.”
Then we have to persuade your audience to say yes to the Change. Because if the Goal is a yes and the Problem is a yes, and the Idea is a yes, then the Change should also be a yes. And then, finally, say yes to the actions that are a result of the Change. This means that it’s really important for you, as you’re starting to put your Red Threads together, to think through where are you going to have the biggest trouble getting someone to say yes because that’s where you’re going to need to spend most of the time.
If someone’s going to readily agree with your Problem, then you’re not going to need to spend too much time there. Instead, you may need to spend more time on explaining the Idea, or on the Change. If, however, the Problem is a big “no” to start, then your entire message may be focused just on getting people to that understanding and agreement with the Problem. But once they’re there, then you can quickly introduce the Idea and the Change. Maybe even some actions to help them move forward.
So, the next time you’re starting to put a message together, think about that No Hole. Think about how big it is, where it is, and how you could make the individual steps smaller. To help you do that, go to FindYourRedThread.com and download the Red Thread Worksheet. And, if you’ve ever got any questions, find me at TamsenWebster.com/contact.