Welcome to the first of the 4-Part ‘Master Your Message’ series…
Or put simply, working out exactly what it is you’re trying to say!
I use the word ‘exactly’ because I want you to be exact. I want you to be as specific as possible when working out what you’re trying to say because if you’re not clear, your poor audience won’t stand a chance.
The more specifically you can define your message, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate it.
Your message serves as the through-line of your communication, be it a pitch, presentation or piece of copy. It threads your narrative together, providing cohesion and clarity for your audience. If you were to strip away everything else, your message should be all that you’re left with. Try thinking of a message like it’s a tree trunk; the strong, central structure of your communication, and just like a tree trunk, everything grows from and is supported by this central structure.
By knowing the message you’re trying to communicate By knowing the message you’re trying to communicate you can then craft your pitch or presentation to ensure this central structure (your message) is firmly in place from the beginning. Then, as you begin to build out, expanding your ideas, you can very easily identify whether what you’re communicating is connected and all hanging off this central structure. It needs to be one cohesive unit. Every single part of your communication must be connected to and an extension of your message. After all, branches don’t float in thin air, they’re attached to the tree trunk right?!
Now there are two main challenges that people tend to face when it comes to clearly defining their message.
Challenge #1 – They simply don’t know the point they’re trying to make.
This can be for a variety of reasons, anything from not asking themselves the right questions, to never being able to find quite the right answers.
Challenge #2 – They have too many points they’re trying to make.
Normally businesses are multi-layered and complex with lots of important messages all fighting for attention, working out which message is the most important is not always obvious or easy.
One of the most effective ways to define your message is also the most overwhelmingly simple and dare I say, obvious ways. You just need to re-engineer it. You need to re-engineer your message by starting at the end, with your lovely audience, and work backward from there. As an aside, one thing I’d like you to understand and something we’ll come onto next week, your message it’s never about you, it’s always, ALWAYS about your audience. This is why, I say, start with your audience, and then work backward, to ensure that your message, from the very beginning, is firmly rooted in their experience and needs.
Try asking yourself this incredibly simple question:
Q. What is the one thing do I want my audience to remember?
That’s it. Easy as that.
Now a common challenge can be limiting your answer to just ONE but I’m afraid you must.
TOP TIP: Never attempt to communicate more than one message at a time.
Of course, there will be smaller messages that you’ll want to include, but these messages must hang off the core message otherwise they won’t be relevant or appropriate to include. Remember the tree trunk I just mentioned, everything needs to be connected to it.
Then once you’ve got it, write it down as one sentence using language that a five-year-old would understand.
After this, you want to sanity check it’s the right message, in other words, it’s a message that resonates with you, your business, your vision etc. And the way we do this is by asking question number two.
As well as knowing what you’re communicating, you must also know why you’re communicating it? This is what adds the weight, the power behind the punch. Its what makes your message matter. So ask yourself…
- Why this particular message?
- Why is it so important I communicate it?
- Why is it so important my audience hear it?
Knowing your Why is what drives the investment in your message, both your own investment, ensuring what you’re communicating is something you stand behind, something you believe in, something that truly matters to you. And if you can crack this, this will also drive the audience’s investment in your message too. If you care, they’ll care. So make sure that once you’ve defined your message, you’ve sense-checked it’s rooted in a strong enough Why.
If you’d prefer to reverse these questions, starting with your Why, by all means, do, you’ll end up with the same results – a neatly defined message. The reason I suggest this order is to reduce the risk of you ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ getting lost in your head by starting with the most unwieldy of the two question, but it’s entirely up to you.
Once you’ve done this, I’d love to hear your defined message, so be sure to click the button below and ‘Join the Conversation’ over at CommunicationCampus.co.uk
Next week we’ll be looking at how to Position Your Message, until then, thanks for reading and Happy Defining!