People are sometimes surprised to learn that not every piece of your Red Thread needs to be an “aha!” moment—or even all that differentiated. In fact, there are parts of your Red Thread that shouldn’t be surprising or unfamiliar, like the Goal.
No, the power of your Red Thread comes from the unfamiliar combination of familiar elements—things your audience already wants, already believes, or at least would readily agree to, given how they see the world right now.
But I get it, that doesn’t stop you from wanting certain elements of your message to really stand out. And the Problem is a great candidate since at its core it’s a revelation of a new issue for your audience—the real reason they’re not achieving their Goal right now.
So what happens when your accurate, agreeable problem doesn’t have the pop and power you think it should? Well, that’s why I recorded this Message in a Minute video:
Making a Problem more persuasive
Here’s the video’s Red Thread:
- GOAL: Make a Problem Statement more persuasive.
- PROBLEM: Even though your Problem is agreeable and accurate, sometimes that agreeability can make your revelation come across as more mundane than memorable. While the Problem doesn’t have to be memorable for your Red Thread to be successful, you may want it to be, for marketing and differentiation purposes. What do you do then?
- TRUTH: Remember that strong emotions create strong memories. The more we feel as we hear or see something new, the more likely it is that new information will stick.
- CHANGE: So, as you introduce your Problem, give your audience experiences that create emotions around the problem.
- ACTION: Here are three ideas for how to create those emotional experiences:
- Name it. Give your Problem a distinctive and differentiated name (I tell the story of the “Lost Voice Problem” in my book, and the “Orange Pie Problem” is a favorite from one of my clients). A name gives people an easy way to reference something that otherwise can take a bit of time to explain. That ease often creates a feeling of relief.
- Model it. Visualize the problem with a diagram or infographic. Helping people see the components of a problem—or its process, levels of intensity, etc.—gives them a feeling of understanding, which in turn often leads to feelings of empowerment. All good feelings to associate with you! My good friend Neen James wrote a white paper all about this and works with folks to visualize their ideas and the problems standing in the way—she’s a master. Hire her.
- Assess it. Give your audience ways to assess the level to which they’re experiencing a problem. This works really well if you already have a model, by the way. Whether you have one or not, though, helping people understand their specific relationship to a problem helps them feel validated about what they’re experiencing—that it’s real. While doing so may sometimes create feelings of unease (which you’ll relieve almost immediately with your Truth and Change), it can also create feelings of determination, and even eagerness to solve the problem or change their relationship with it.
- GOAL REVISITED: Even the most “mundane” Problems can become memorable if you attach emotional experiences to them. And they don’t have to be dramatic or scary stories—they can be simple experiences that help your audience recognize, understand, and start to solve the problems standing in their way. When you do that, your “mundane” problem may just become memorable enough for your audience to share it with others, too.
So what can you do to make your Problem more persuasive? Which of these will you try? Email me and let me know!Give your audience experiences that create emotions around the problem. Click To Tweet
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When you want to move your audiences to action with your idea, there is nothing more powerful than presenting them with a problem that they didn’t know they had in the first place. But sometimes that problem you present comes across as a little bit more mundane than memorable. So how can you make that problem more persuasive? Well that’s what we’re talking about on this episode of Message in a Minute. I’m your host, Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com, and it turns out that all you need to do is remember that strong emotions create strong memories. That means that when you want to make your problem a little bit more powerful and persuasive, just create experiences for your audience while you’re presenting that problem that help create those kinds of emotions that will make your message stick.
So how can you do that? Three quick suggestions. One, give the problem a name. That gives your audience the feeling of relief. They finally have a way to talk about this thing they’ve been experiencing so far. Now give it a memorable name like The Lost Voice Problem or The Orange Pie Problem to borrow from two of my clients, and suddenly, you also have a sticky name to match with this serious problem that’s getting in the way of the thing that they want.
The second thing you can do is model the problem. Put it into a diagram or a process that they can see and so they can understand a little bit better either how the problem works or where it comes from or what its components are. That gives your audience the emotion, the feeling of understanding, which often leads to feelings of empowerment, which are really good feelings to have associated with you.
Now the third thing that you can do is you can assess the problem. Or rather, have your audience self-assess where they are on a continuum of experience with that problem. What level are they experiencing? To what level are they experiencing it? When they do that, they can experience emotions, anything from validation, “Oh, okay, yep, that confirms what I’ve been seeing,” to eagerness to move to a different level of experience of that problem, ideally with you and your idea.
When you get your audience to experience emotions around that problem that you present, not only are you more likely to make your message and that problem more memorable, you might just make it memorable enough to share with other people, and that is how to make your message get where you need it to be and to make it have the impact that it deserves.
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