Here is what you have to realize: if you want to sell something, change anything, woo anyone, you have to get people on your side. And if you want to get people on your side, you have to know how to get people to take notice and care.
Thanks to the new imperatives of the relationship economy as much as to the Web, far more of us have a personal stake in creating advertisements for ourselves than we once did. Attention is the scarce resource we all compete for these days. With the ability to access an infinite array of human networks with one click, we have mere seconds to put forth our best cases for why someone should engage us rather then anyone else. The clarity and effectiveness with which you communicate who you are and why it’s relevant is the lynchpin for expanding your recognition, increasing your influence, and attracting attention.
Great ideas, a great product – it’s not enough. Take the dieting book,
The Moderate Carbohydrate Diet. Ever hear of it? Probably not. Despite its good ideas (at least as far the dieting genre goes), the book was published with a thud. Repackaged as The South Beach Diet, the book became a cultural phenomenon. How do you apply these kind of branding insights to yourself?
There’s an entire industry of answers, most of which are crap. That’s why I invited Mark Magnacca to be my guest on a skills and tactics segment of The Social Capitalist. Mark, the author of So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience, has a no-nonsense, practical approach that helps people tailor their messaging to ensure people will care. It’s all about relentlessly focusing on how what you do benefits whoever your audience may be.
In the podcast, Mark introduced us to a couple of helpful protocols to
help hone your message. Here are two:
THE FORMULA FOR ANSWERING, “WHAT DO YOU DO?”
It’s a simple, 2-step formula:
Step 1: Get their interest by asking the question, “Do you know how
[insert undeniable problem here]?”
Step 2: Explain how what you do answers their problem, by saying, “Well,
what I/We do is [insert your compelling solution].”
Here are some examples of the formula being used by four different
Example 1 – Dentist
Do you know how so many people don’t like going to the dentist?
Well, what I do is practice such a gentle form of dentistry that you
don’t even realize you have been to the dentist until you see how
great your smile looks.
Example 2 – CPA
Do you know how so many CPAs are just focused on making sure you pay the
right amount in taxes?
Well, what I do is different because I focus on helping you grow your
business profitably by asking the questions no one else asks.
Example 3 – Financial Advisor
Do you know how many people spend more time planning for their vacation
than planning for their retirement?
Well, what I do is help my clients plan for the longest vacation of their
lives … their retirement.
Example 4 – Lawyer
Do you know how so many people dislike calling their lawyer because they
don’t know how much it will cost them every time he picks up the phone?
Well, what I do is act as a business advisor for my clients to help them
anticipate and avoid problems so they don’t need to worry about the money
whenever they call me.
THE SO WHAT MATRIX
Expose your presentation to this three-question gauntlet, and it’ll
emerge the other side more persuasive:
- For What? Explain why you’re giving the presentation.
- So What? Explain why what you’re saying is important to the listener or reader.
- Now What? Explain what happens as a result of your presentation.
No-nonsense, practical, and almost immediately applicable; in other words, good advice.