First Steps of Crafting Your Message

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Have you been guilty of giving a long, rambling response when someone asks what your organization does? You know your organization does great work, and you know what you do, but can you succinctly tell your story or message to others? Have you figured out how to effectively craft your story? What if your current messaging is no longer accurate because your group has evolved?Have you put serious thought into the way you convey your work? Or how others in your organization define what you do? Let me give you four quick tips to start your thinking on crafting a message.

  1. What are three ways you want to be known?
    If you had to distill down all you do into three points, what would they be? You may need to brainstorm with your team. Maybe fill up a whiteboard with all your thoughts. Then, see if you can group the variety of ideas into three buckets. Continue to massage this list until your top three surface.
  1. After identifying your top three, keep the words real and true.
    Sometimes we want to be lofty with our language. Maybe too lofty. Sometimes our words are aspirational—what we want to be not what we are. Be disciplined enough to keep the language real and true. This is the foundation for solid messaging. Believability and trustworthiness go hand in hand. If people don’t believe you, they won’t trust you. We begin to earn trust when we are consistent, sincere, and real. Make sure your language is real and true.
  1. Make your message believable, but memorable.
    So, you want your message to be sticky. How do you do that? By making it memorable. You can make it memorable by humanizing your story, keeping it simple (keep in mind that context trumps content), and connecting with emotions. People will forget 90% of what you say, but they will probably remember how you made them feel.
  1. Know your various segments. Segments (or audiences) often require different messsages. For example, you may message one way for internal communications, another way to the general public, and perhaps a totally different way to elected officials. So make sure you know your various segments.

Have some fun. Pull together a few key players. Maybe even head to your favorite brewery and talk through these components together. It will probably be of great value to hear what others in your organization think. Let’s craft that story!
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