Some organizations will work so hard to tell the story that they want to tell. I witnessed one excruciating process where every sub-point to a sub-point was heatedly debated. I didn’t know whether to congratulate this organization on their dogged determination or to beat my head against the wall.
Then came the time to write the story. The team toiled, revising version after version. They wanted to make sure they got it right. When the story emerged, it was well crafted. Grammatically correct and efficient in its prose.
A victory, right? Well, no. The people the story was meant for really had no idea what the organization was talking about. The organization forgot how little their audience knew about them and what they were offering. Most of all, the organization forgot that these people were mildly interested (at best) and monumentally distracted.
Creating your message from your audience’s shoes
This happens a lot. Organizations get so intent on making sure people understand what they believe that they forget to strap on their audiences’ kicks and tromp around a while — say, a mile or so.
A funny thing happens from the vantage point of our audiences’ shoes. What we thought was crucially important becomes a forgettable piece of mind clutter to them. Then, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we realize that they have no idea what we’re talking about. Because we are so deep into the story that they don’t even know where to begin.
I have a remedy. There are three questions you can ask that will reorient your story to be relevant and meaningful to the distracted and unimpressed masses whose attention and interest is critical to us. Here are those three questions:
- Who are we hoping to serve?
- What is their challenge?
- What is their aspiration?
We tell a very different story when we first consider these three questions. Most important, those we hope to engage hear a very different story. They hear something relevant. They hear something meaningful. Most of all, they stick around to hear more. Because you just moved them from distracted and unimpressed to potential believers.
Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the forthcoming book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.
Originally published at www.dansalva.com.