That’s the question I want to know your answer to this week. Somewhere between Seth Godin’s post on your “minimum viable audience,” (the “smallest group that could possibly sustain you in your work”) and Ron Ploof’s post on how “commonality is the super glue of human bonding,” this question popped up.
Those two #swipefile entries intersect in what I call the “minimum viable message” (even before Seth’s post – go figure). What is the minimum viable message? Well, if you’re trying to create change in thinking and behavior, the “MVM” is the minimum amount of information someone needs to hear to understand and agree with your idea. It’s the minimum amount of information someone needs for your idea to make sense to them.
While that may sound like trying to find a needle in a haystack, it’s not. In fact, to Ron’s point, this is where commonality comes into play: the kinds of information we need to hear in that MVM are universal, because how we make things make sense is universal. How’s that? We fit pieces of information into the pieces of a universal story. In fact, they’re the pieces of the Red Thread®:
- What question your idea (or product or service) answers for your audience – a Goal
- What’s currently getting in the audience’s way of that answer – the Problem
- Some already-held belief or easily provable fact that makes that Problem impossible to ignore – the Truth
- What new choice (or differentiation in the market) results from the other three – the Change
- How to put that change into effect – the Actions
If even one of those is missing, your message will get lost in what I call the Rationalization Trap – what happens once someone’s brain starts to find any possible excuse NOT to change. Ideas die there. Don’t go there.
But when you’ve filled in those pieces well? Then you know you have the case for your idea. And not just one that makes sense, either. Ideally, you’ve created a case for your idea – a case for change – that they can’t unhear. And the best part? If it works in that minimal format, it will work at any size and in any format.
To get there, though, you have to follow Seth’s advice and know your audience well enough to be able to fill those blanks easily.
And the easiest way to fill in the first blank (the Goal)? Is to ask them what questions they’re struggling with right now.
Which brings me back to my original question: what are you struggling with right now?If you're trying to create change in thinking and behavior, think about the minimum amount of information someone needs to hear to understand your idea. Click To Tweet
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