It can be easy to blame yourself when your messaging isn't working, especially if you feel like you have trouble accurately putting into words exactly what is that you do.
On today's episode of the Rebel Rising Podcast, I am sharing with you one really important thing to consider when perfecting your messaging: your audience's frame of reference. Why? Their frame of reference and therefore, bias, greatly impact how they will interpret your message.
But how do you root out what your audience's frame of reference is? I'm breaking this episode down into 3 questions that are imperative for you to be asking yourself in order to accurately nail your message.
- What are misconceptions people have about your work?
- What are the beliefs your audience has about the work you do?
- Why would your audience say no to the transformation you're trying to create?
Listen to the full episode more or read through the transcript below.
Tune into the audio:
Hey, hey rebels. It is easy to blame yourself for your message not working, after all, you are the expert, right? You are in this work, day in and day out. If anyone should be able to explain what you do to other people, it's you, right?
Rethink that. After all, communication is a two-way street and there is another person, or if you're a business owner or a speaker, there's a lot of other people on the receiving end of the communication that we're putting out in the world.
Let's face it, for many of you who are listening to this podcast, what you're doing is cutting edge and it's different.
When you're doing things differently, it's harder for people to grasp and that makes it difficult to explain because what people will do in order to make sense of it is to relate it to what they already know.
When I talk about creating 3 Word Rebellions, people just think about, oh you do brand messaging. It's like, no, a 3 Word Rebellion is so much more than creating a brand message, but it's so easy for other people to relate my work to it.
Then there are still other people who just dismiss what you do out of hand because it's just too strange, or I just don't believe you can get the results by doing things that way. Or that's not the way we do things around here. We've always done it this other way.
I know it's easy to put all the blame on yourself and think that you should have this messaging thing all figured out. But there is this other side of the equation. There's a culprit. We don't talk about enough, and I talked about this in episode 170 when I talked about how communication between people is messy and complex because each person is bringing all of their experiences, their values, their assumptions, everything to the table.
There is something we need to consider when we're creating the message for our business and that something is our frame of reference, but more specifically our audience's frame of reference, the receiver of our message, their frame of reference, because it biases how they interpret our communication.
Let's be honest here, there's no unbiased source of anything if it's coming from a human being.
Humans are biased. Let's talk about the media. Conservative, liberal, mainstream, it all has a little bit of bias to it. Even objective science contains some bias because we humans are interpreting the data and everything about that data is filtered through our frame of reference.
Before we dive into this episode about questions you can ask yourself to kind of figure out how this bias is impacting your message let's do a bit of an experiment.
Imagine you're walking down the street in your neighborhood. You see a man who is coming towards you. He is wearing a red baseball hat and there's some white writing on it. You can't make it out, but you're pretty sure it says Make America Great Again.
Now what do you believe about that man based on his baseball hat? Do you like this person or not? Do you think this person's beliefs align with yours or not? Do you think this person will be friendly towards you or not? Would you say hello or not?
Now imagine as this person walks closer towards you, you realize that the red hat doesn't say Make America Great Again, but instead it just says Nike. Now, how do you feel about that man? Is there a relief or is there hesitancy? Is he more like you are less like you? Will he be more friendly or less friendly?
Now the answers, they don't matter because all of this is bias. It's all influenced by our frame of reference and what we believe and how do I know this? I know this because I made the man up and you still had some opinions based on an article of clothing.
Our frame of reference impacts everything that we are communicating. What does this mean for your business?
We know it exists, but what does it mean for your business? When someone shows up on your website or they meet you at an event or they hear you on a podcast, they immediately have a lot of thoughts about you and what you do based on very little real information.
But they look at you, they look at your style, they look at your hair and they make some assumptions based on their frame of reference. Now social scientists define a frame of reference as our beliefs, schemas, preferences, values and culture and other ways. We bias our understanding and judgment.
It's all of our experiences that we're bringing to the table.
We do this, we bring bias and we bring our frame of reference when we're meeting and interacting with people because it makes processing information easier for our brain. It's more energy efficient. So our brain helps us fill in the gaps with information based on what we've experienced.
While so many business coaches will tell you that you need to have an ideal client avatar and a niche (and I don't necessarily disagree and I kind of with the niche stuff but that's a topic for another day) there's something else you need to root your understanding around when you're thinking about your clients and your customers. And that's their frame of reference. This is why it's so important to dig in and have an audience centered message.
So here are three questions I want you to ask yourself about your people because this will help you start rooting out what their frame of references and you'll be better able to understand their point of view, which will help you create a message they can actually understand.
So the first question I have for you are, what are the misconceptions people have about your work and how you do your work?
So this is a funny story. When I first started working with clients on the 3 Word Rebellion and helping them with the messaging for their business, I had this assumption that everybody did messaging just the way that I did it, which was this very creative collaborative process.
I would do a content audit. My clients would do writing exercises, a lot of which are in the 3 Word Rebellion book, and then we would come together and we'd have conversations and we'd get curious. From that it would produce their 3 Word Rebellion and it would produce their audience journey and all of that.
Then I realized I was wrong. That is not how most people do messaging work.
Most people do messaging work by interviewing someone for an hour and then writing up what their message should be. And I realized this because I was working with a client magnet, Megan Crutchley at Organic Fitness and she had worked with somebody who helped their gym with messaging, and their gym was radically different and they didn't want messaging around weight loss. That was not what their gym was about.
Of course, this messaging person came back with a message around weight loss. So when she was interviewing me to work with me, she had some questions about how this was going to be different and I was like, well, I would never force a weight loss message on you if that's not what you would want. That's not what would emerge from the work. But I had an assumption that messaging people worked the way that I worked.
There's this misconception that I'm just going to interview people and hand them their message.
What are some misconceptions that people have about you and the work you do? What are they getting wrong? Also, what are they getting right? That is some fertile ground for you to explore for your own messaging.
The second question I have for you, what beliefs do they have? Are they good or bad about the work you do now?
I have explored this a lot in my own business, so I hear things like messaging is hard and it's going to be a lot of work. Or one of my favorites was I had a consult call one time and this man was convinced it was going to take five years to find his message, and I was like, all of my clients find their 3 Word Rebellion in two weeks.
Why would it take five years? He's like, it's supposed to take a long time. I think, I don't want to work with anyone for five years. That would be frustrating.
He had this belief in his head. Those are things that you have to talk to as a business owner. Same with the belief that messaging is hard and it's going to be a lot of work because so far that's been what your frame of reference has been. That messaging is hard. You've trying to figure this out on your own. You've been up in your head. It's not been easy at all. You've been sprawling spaghetti up against the wall. Yeah, I see that. It's been hard, but I see that there's also a different way and I can tell you about that, but I have to acknowledge first that it's hard.
What beliefs do your clients and customers have good or bad about the work that you do? Because understanding these beliefs and talking to these beliefs it creates such an amazing connection with your people.
It's going to make them feel like you get me, like you're listening to me. You understand what I want and what I need.
The third and final question that I want you to think about and this one is a biggie because most of us are in the work of transformation. Why would people say no to the change you want to create for them?
We want to change people in some way. If you're a coach, you want to change their lives in some way. If you are a business coach, you're changing their business. If I'm changing the way people communicate and show up in the world, if you are a creativity coach, you're getting people to change the way they create and actually create stuff.
So it's amazing the work we do and it's transformative.
At the same time you have to ask this question, why would people say no to the change you can create for them? Why would they say no? Because let's face it, change is hard. Even when we say we want it.
You heard me at the beginning of this podcast say, but we've always done it this way. Oh my gosh, the default is so much easier than changing up our lives and we have a lot of stories around why we don't change.
The classic example of this is at the beginning of every single year, people flock to the gym because this is going to be the year they lose all of the weight, only to stop going to the gym three weeks later. They're resisting the transformation. They say they want when it gets hard.
For me, I know one of the things that my people struggle with is that staying on message is hard because we're innovators, right?
You're rebels, you like to shake things up. Here I am giving you a message and saying, all right, now just repeat this for three to five years and you'll be known for it. Yay. In one way it's very reassuring because this is the plan for building your business and getting your clients and known and recognized and getting on stages and podcasts and writing your book and all of the things. But it can also be kind of boring for you because you like to change things up.
I know I have to talk about that and address ways that you can change it up while still staying on message.
What is that for you? Why would people say no to the change that they say that they want? Would they, do they feel like they're going to lose someone in their lives? Do they have to destroy the person that they currently are?
Get to the bottom of that because that is also a part of their frame of reference. It's how your audience interprets your message. You've gotta be able to meet your people where they are in order to persuade them in order to serve them in order to transform that.
Speaking of transformational work, this goes live on October 22nd and on October 24th, I am hosting a masterclass about the 3 Word Rebellion where we're going to talk about how to grow your business and influence 24/7 with a one of a kind message. And so this masterclass is gonna go deeper into what the book covers and hey, if you haven't read the book or you have the book and you haven't done the exercises, come on over to the webinar because we're going to be diving in to some of those. I'll also be giving you my latest insights into what makes a compelling 3 Word Rebellion that ends up spreading your message like wildfire.
So if you would like to join me on Thursday, October 24th at 1:00 PM Eastern time, 10:00 AM Pacific time, all you have to do is grab your phone, and I'm betting or listening to this podcast on your phone, go to your text app, start a new text message, type 33777. And for the text message, just type “3wr” and hit send and you'll get some prompts that will sign you right up. And hey, if you want to go old school, you can just go sign up online too.
Let me leave you with this: When you truly get your audience, when they feel you understand them when they feel that you know how they think and you get them, they will trust you.
They will want to follow you because they know that you have their best interests at heart. So you use those, you set, use that frame of reference, dive in, speak to those bias, because that is a way that you can get your message, your 3 word, Rebellion out into the world.