As I was getting ready to write this post, I accidentally typed the letter T in the Google search window. Not because I wanted to, but because my dog wanted to go for a walk and he knows the best way to communicate that wish is to bump my hand off the mouse. All dog owners are nodding their heads right now. When I looked back up at the screen, the following search words had already popped up in this order: Target, TD Bank, Toys r Us and Twitter. Nothing I was interested in at the time, but it made me think about how the Google algorithm has a way of rank-ordering content to make our lives easier and more productive. That’s exactly what you need to do for your audience.

For today, let’s focus on the key message. Do you know your key message? Really? Let’s explore this a bit further. If you were my client and I asked you this question, you may say something like, “I want to convince my audience that they should switch to the American Express Open card and get rid of all their other cards.” Sounds like a key message, right? The only problem is, it’s being viewed through the wrong lens – yours. Where’s the audience in this? If you really wanted to win over your audience you would have said to me, “I want to exemplify the frustration people experience trying to juggle four credit cards because each one offers a different perk when all they need is the American Express Open with all the perks on one place.”

Human beings are managing an emotional balancing act at all times. The balance is between two simple things: pleasure and pain. Your key message, if you want to be successful, is to alleviate the pain and enhance the pleasure. Sometimes you have to point out the pain first and sometimes you have to open their eyes to the pleasure. Either way, if you use this one organizing tool, you will be a more persuasive and successful speaker.

If you would like to explore this concept further, I recommend you pick up a copy of the art of woo, by Richard Shell and Mario Moussa.

– Barbara