Creating favorable reception of your message
How can you make your audience sympathetic to your message before introducing it?
The attempts to create a favourable reception of your message and request are successful only to the extent that the associations they trigger are positive to the requested change.
What are these associations? Here I’ve created a list of them that have made a difference in my work and that of my clients:
- Reciprocity – a morally abiding, social norm. To reciprocate, what you give should be experienced as “meaningful, unexpected, customized”.
- Liking – show your audience “you like them”! Underline similarities and provide complements and strokes of recognition.
- Social proof – we are influenced to believe, think, feel, and do what other comparable ones believe, think, feel, and do at the extent that doing so is “valid” and “feasible”. Indicate “who else and what results”.
- Authority – the key is Expertise and Trustworthiness. Your authority message may be transmitted through the message of the “Merit(s)” you hold, of the “Medium”, of the “Messenger” , of the “Multitude and Diversity”, of the “Merger and Unity”. Consider and apply a message that fits best in the given context.
- Scarcity – Our innate aversion to loosing something of value makes scarcity drive desire. Any constraint in access increases the worth of what is being offered. Highlight what valuable opportunity someone will lose by not acting/assenting to the request.
- Consistency – the brain loves consistency. If you get a confirmation for a small first step in the targeted direction, the need for consistency will take care of the rest.
- Unity – when a WE relationship is raised to consciousness it leads to more acceptable, cooperation, liking, trust, and assent. – Feeling that “this person is OF us, perceived shared identities make us feel at one and merge with others. This is underlined by “particular” ways of being together and “particular” ways of acting together.
Clearly, the associations are linked to the characteristics of an audience. Pose these questions to check out how you understand your audience:
- Do they want to “fit in” or “stand-out”?
- What is the self-relevance of your message, request, offering, feature?
- What is something important happening “next” for members of your audience?
- What kind of “Authority” demonstration fits the context
And the most important thing of all is to understand the drivers of your communication:
- What is your goal?
- What is the most salient feature of what you’re offering?
- What is the “mystery” of your story?
I’ve used this model with different degrees of maturity in working with 112 teams to deliver critical messages, products or solutions; to win business deals and to mediate conflicting interests. It is amazing how this one pager has persistently made the difference between teams success and failure.
I’m mindful, though, that you may have also derived your lessons learned and navigating system. What are your watch out points?