There’s lots of (very good) advice out there about showing people what their lives may look like after they make the change your idea represents. My latest Message in a Minute video (and this post!) explains why it makes sense to…
Paint the picture of what’s possible
That’s especially important when the change you’re asking people to make isn’t one they’re looking to make right now.
To explain that a bit more, here’s the video’s Red Thread:
- GOAL: Have your audience feel good about a change you’re asking for.
- PROBLEM: The best messages—and the best stories—resolve the very natural tension between what people want and what they need. That kind of happy ending satisfies our very human expectations of the way things “should” be—namely, that being smart, capable, and good deserves a reward.
- TRUTH: Mental movement doesn’t come from satisfying endings, it comes from new beginnings—from the curiosity that’s a key condition for change.
- CHANGE: Don’t just give people a happy ending with your message, paint the picture of what’s possible once they achieve it.
- ACTION: Draft your Goal Revisited and then put it where it will do the most good: the beginning to create the curiosity that creates engagement in your message, or at the end to create the curiosity that keeps the engagement going.
- GOAL REVISITED: Not only will people be curious about and satisfied with the happy ending they’re looking for, you’re potentially giving them a new, even better ending to pursue (which then starts the curiosity cycle all over again!)
How to apply it
There’s one big and obvious reason why you’d want to tell your audience about what it looks like on the other side of the change you’re asking them to make: It shows them why the change would be worth it. (And as I’ve talked about recently, that’s one of the three beliefs they need to have before they’ll change.)
It gives them something to want.
Some folks call it the “promise,” others the “new day-in-the-life.” No matter what you call it, though, painting that picture of what’s possible for your audience also helps draw the contrast between their current “before” and your “after.” That contrast creates a curiosity gap that activates people’s own desire to learn more about how to get that new and improved result.Painting that picture of what's possible for your audience also helps draw the contrast between their current 'before' and your 'after.' Click To Tweet
It turns a want into a need.
That curiosity gap, in turn, raises the probability that people will lean into your message and engage with it more. With something so worthwhile out there—something different and better than what they have now—they’ll want to know how to solve the puzzle.
And all of that helps people feel good about the change, your message, and often, you.
That’s especially true those times where the change you’re asking for isn’t one that people are actively looking for right now or, possibly, are resistant to making.
In those instances, I recommend something a bit counterintuitive:
Hold that picture of what’s possible until the end.
That’s due to one of our very human quirks called “persuasion knowledge.” That’s what happens when we realize someone is trying to persuade us to do something, and (because we always want to feel in control of our choices and destiny) we resist… often just for the sake of resisting and feeling that control!
Yeah, you don’t want that to happen with your message. You especially don’t want that to happen if you know the change you’re asking for will legitimately help someone get something they need.
But sometimes there’s a tension between what someone wants (their Goal) and what you believe they need (the Change). The thing is, often because of persuasion knowledge, your audience will often ignore—or disbelieve—anything that isn’t what they want right now, whether you think they need it or not.
You have to solve the problem they think they have before you solve the problem you know they have.
That’s why your message needs to start with their Goal and your case needs to clearly show how your Change satisfies that goal. That’s the happy ending they’re looking for, and the happy ending you will give them. That kind of happy ending to your message is satisfying in and of itself, of course. It’s a problem solved, a need met, a goal achieved.
There’s a deeper reason, too, and it connects to people’s basic human need to be seen as smart, capable, and good.
It feels “right” to us that we get what we want.
We deserve it for being a smart, capable, good person.
While closing that loop for your audience is often all you need to do, sometimes you want or need to keep the engagement going after they get what they want. You want or need to continue the relationship in some way. Maybe you want them to move to the next stage of your sales process, or to keep reading, or to dive deeper into all you offer.
In that case it helps to remember the role of curiosity in creating mental movement. More specifically, how, once our curiosity is satisfied—once we think we know the answer to a question we have—we’re not curious anymore. In other words, as I said above,
Mental movement doesn’t come from satisfying endings, it comes from new beginnings
That means you sometimes want to create new curiosity, even as you’re satisfying “old” curiosity. In those instances, that’s when it helps to hold off that picture of what’s possible until after you’ve shown them how you’ve given them what they want. Once they’re satisfied with that, you can then show them all the other possibilities they gain from taking action or making change.
That “extra” you’re giving them—which is often exactly what they need, even if they didn’t realize in the beginning—makes them feel even better about the change and your idea. Sometimes, it makes them feel even better about themselves.
And that’s the best free prize of all.Mental movement doesn't come from satisfying endings, it comes from new beginnings. 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.
Sometimes, the change that you’re asking people to make falls a little bit more in the what they need camp than in the what they want camp. So how can you still help people feel good about that change no matter which camp they fall into? That’s what we’re talking about on this episode of Message In A Minute. I’m your host, Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com.
When it comes to helping people feel good about a message, it can help to turn to story because the best stories and the best messages resolve that tension between something people want and something that they need with a happy ending, where they get one, if not both, of those things. That happy ending satisfies a very human belief that being smart, capable, and good, as I like to say, deserves a reward. But that satisfying ending isn’t enough because when it comes to mental movement and actually making change actionable, we need not just that satisfying ending, we need a new beginning because the new beginning, somewhere else to go, some new place to go to, invokes that curiosity that is a key condition for change.
So that’s why with your message, don’t just give them what they want or what they need, or both. Paint a picture of what’s possible. Show them what above and beyond those things they can get by making the change that you’re asking them to make. That can happen at the beginning or the end of your message, but make sure to include it so that you get that commitment to that change and that confidence that where they’re going next is even better than what they imagined in the first place.
If you want to know more about how to do that, sign up to my newsletter at tamsenwebster.com/newsletter. I write much more every week about these videos and how to put them in practice. And all of this is based on my book, Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible, which you can find more information on at redthreadbook.com.
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