One of the quickest ways I have found to help someone who is struggling to formulate a message is to remind them that the purpose of all communication is to change behavior. If you put the message out into the world, and no one’s behavior changes as a result, then your message has clearly failed. Thinking about your message as a means of changing someone’s behavior does wonders to clarify the task. You really only need to answer three questions:
- Whose behavior am I trying to change?
- How do I want them to behave?
- What can I say to them that will motivate them to behave this way?
If you can’t answer the first two questions, you are not ready to begin. If you can answer the third, you know exactly what you have to do to succeed. I have found this simple mantra to be a very powerful tool for focusing people on how to create a successful message.