It’s not what you say —
And you know this.
Because at some level, you know that your ideas don’t completely suck.
And yet —
You’re not getting through.
And whether it’s your partner in crime or your love partner or the guys at work —
Your message keeps falling short.
And it’s frustrating.
Especially when the guy next to you seems to be hitting home runs —
And his ideas aren’t half as good as yours.
But they’re getting through, while yours aren’t.
So how can you get your message across?
It’s how you say it.
It’s actually quite simple.
But somehow you missed this incredibly valuable lesson.
So here it is:
Take your great idea that’s falling short —
And say it differently.
And here’s how to say it.
Give your message a better structure.
In fact, give it a story structure.
Because — have you noticed?
People stop and listen to stories.
Because stories take the blah blah blah out of life —
And give us a sharper focus for a brief moment about something essential.
Here’s the basic idea.
A story is:
- A problem
- In search of a solution
- Which tells us something essential
- About what it means to be human
Or, said another way —
1. Start with a problem.
Just start with where we are now.
So here we are — in the same old mess.
2. Move to a solution
But here is where we need to go.
And there is a gap between here and there.
3. Make sure there is a change.
And in order to get from here to there, we are going to have to make a change.
So please do this.
Please watch this brief TED talk.
And then come right back so we can wrap up for today and send you with a new communication skill.
- Start with the problem.
- Move to a solution — with a big enough gap between the problem and the solution so that your listeners care.
- Make sure that it’s clear that something needs to change — in fact, that we need to change.