If you want to keep your message simple (and you do!), then the structure needs to be simple, too. That may seem obvious, but it can be harder than it looks. That’s because it isn’t (just) about the number of points you make, it’s about the structure of them.
Structure creates pattern, and pattern creates memorability. But not all structures are equal. The traditional 3-point structure, for instance, relies on one of the patterns of memory: the “Rule of 3.”
But one of the most memorable patterns? Story. Your brain — everyone’s — brain recognizes story structure, even when there isn’t a story present. Your brain is constantly filling in those blanks of the story, or trying to. In fact, author Kendall Haven [affiliate link] writes that, “Effective story structure itself creates sufficient context and relevance to make initial information in a new topic stick.” Whoa. Do you see what that means? Simply putting your information in story structure gives it the context and relevance critical to understanding and memorability.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your message fulfills those basic elements of story:
- Establishing a GOAL — the action of a story begins when we discover what someone wants.
- Introducing a PROBLEM someone didn’t know they had — this creates conflict and tension, which is the engine of all action.
- Discovering a TRUTH that makes the inaction impossible because it puts the Goal in jeopardy (in stories, this is often referred to as the “midpoint” or “climax”) — this forces a choice someone has to make
- Deciding to CHANGE — this is what happens as a result of the Truth, and it determines whether the ending is happy or not
- Turning the Change into ACTION — this is what someone does to make the Change real
All great stories, and all great messages, have that simple structure. To keep it simple, only keep in those things that support that structure, and remove anything that distracts from it.
That’s the story. And it really is that simple.Putting your information in story structure gives it the context and relevance critical to understanding and memorability. Click To Tweet
Like this content? Be the first to get it delivered directly to your inbox every week (along with a lot of other great content, including my #swipefiles). Yes, please send me the Red Thread newsletter, exclusive information, and updates.