Happy Friday Everyone!
Here is the last step in the 4-Step Formula; Master Your Message.
Now that your message is beautifully defined, strategically positioned, powerfully refined, it’s time to Package it; crafting your message into a compelling narrative.
While you’re completing this last step, make sure you have your Objective in front of you. So write it down on a piece of paper, or a post-it note and stick it on your wall, your laptop, your table, wherever you can see it clearly. Because as you craft your narrative you’ll want to keep referring back to it, making sure your message is staying on track, incorporating all the work you’ve done so far. (Click here to review last weeks blog and learn more about Creating an Objective)
Next, as you craft your narrative, I want you to remember; it’s your job to take your audience on a journey.
And that ‘journey’ needs to start, not from where you’re standing but from where your audience is standing. You must go to them and invite them to follow you. And as you move through your pitch, presentation, or proposal you should see yourself as their guide, laying a clear pathway for your audience to follow along. It is your job to lead the way, as you take your audience from their comfortable world into a brand new world that you are presenting before them.
Now the simplest and most effective way to Package your Message is by adopting the basic Three Act, Story Structure.
- Act 1 – Set-up & Inciting Incident (Beginning)
- Act 2 – Conflict & Crisis (Middle)
- Act 3 – Resolution (End)
So let’s take a quick look at how you can apply this framework to your own message.
Act 1 – The Set-up, this is where you ‘level with your audience’, you paint the picture of the current circumstances, the status quo, the world in which their currently living, laying the foundation for Act 2 and the conflict that is about to follow. This also gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience by showing them that you understand their world, their situation, in short, you understand them. Remember if your message isn’t directly related to your audience, you must find a way of making it relate to them because this is the only way it’ll ever resonate with them. So always try and find a way of connecting it back to them, find a way of making it relevant to them and not just intellectually but emotionally too. By the end of Act 1, you literally want your audience to be nodding their heads along with you. This is when you know they’re ready to follow.
Act 2 – This is where the conflict and crisis take place, this is where you challenge the status quo by presenting the problem(s) with the current circumstances. You expose the cracks in the world where your audience is currently living and you start to make them see these cracks for themselves, perhaps for the first time. Your audience begins to experience a subtle shift in mindset.
Act 3 – And then finally, the beautiful resolution! Where you swoop in as the hero of the story, presenting your solution as the answer to that very problem, by which point your audience is ready and eager to hear it. You can build moments of tension and release, peaks and troughs in the story arch by traversing between the problem and the solution. The more extreme you can make these two opposing points, the more impact and interest you’ll create as you flip-flop between them.
You then summarise Act 3, with your Ultimate Vision, a short, succinct, inspirational view of what this ‘new world’ could look like, providing a neat impactful close.
Last but not least, the final punctuation mark in your message, your Call to Action. Always end your message with a strong Call to Action – the instruction that tells your audience what they should do next. Keep it simple, only ever have One Call to Action, (any more and it becomes confusing, loses impact and dilutes your message), and you want to make sure it’s easy for your audience to achieve, this will increase the chances of them actually taking action. And finally, make sure your Call to Action is the very last piece of your message you leave your audience with.
And that my friends, is how you Package your Message into a compelling narrative!!
Thank you so much for following this series, I hope you’ve found it incredibly useful and if you’d like more help mastering your own message and applying any of the 4-Step Formula, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be delighted to share with you more details about our One-to-One Coaching Programmes.