Make your message high resolution so that people better understand what you’re saying and what you want them to do. I learned it from a top writer, Alexandra Franzen.
A message works to the degree that it resonates with the audience. While you already know to be audience specific, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to do that. What does “resonate” actually mean when you’re preparing a presentation, or even writing an email?
Before any significant message, pull out a sticky note or scrap piece of paper and write these 3 steps to make your message high resolution:
What do you want your audience to feel about your message?
Excitement about an upcoming change? Do you have some news they need to take seriously and calmly? Do you need to motivate them to stretch beyond their past achievements and reach higher standards of performance?
What do you want your audience to know?
Most people err on the side of too much information. Your audience may not want to know every single detail of your systems upgrade. They do want to know how to do their jobs better with the new tools.
Edit out non-essential information. If needed, you can always make it available through an optional handout or links for the fans.
What do you want your audience to do about your message?
This is your CTA, or call to action. Be specific. Are you selling something, trying to change a behavior, or simply sharing background information for future reference?
Pro tip: in writing emails, put your CTA in the subject line. That sets up the minds of the people reading it in alignment with what you want them to do.
Let’s say you want to justify adding a member to your team, even though you just went through a minor reorganization. You realize the gravity of the situation if the company recently let some people go, but you are confident that hiring a new social media expert will grow the business.
Feel: you want your audience, the top cheeses, to feel confident that this is a solid decision.
Know: you want them to know how much value this person will bring to the company. So you focus on the impact this new hire will have on the bottom line.
Do: you want a green light to hire this person. You will take care of everything else.
Any time you need buy in, any time the situation is confusing (aka always), any time you’re unclear yourself, use this exercise to make your message high resolution.
Hi-res communicators win more often.