Do you think that you are your message?
Now, if you've listened to past episodes of the podcast, you know exactly how I feel about this idea.
Recently, I had a consult and my potential client was so prepared for it.
She was prepared to tell me her whole entire story and as our discovery call progressed, I asked her why she was telling me all of this?
Why was her backstory important for me to know in order to help her with her messaging?
She just paused and said, “Well, isn't this how you find my message? I've talked to a few other people who do messaging and they tell me that I am the message!”
I just laughed and said to her, “no offense, but you are not your message. Other people cannot spread you. A message that matters to your audience is about your audience.”
Her mind was blown because she saw how limiting it was. She even talked about how she reads books all the time and she realizes that these books, yes they have stories but the stories support a greater message, a greater theme.
But what it allowed me to see is that there are two schools of thought for finding your message.
There is the self-centered school and the audience centered school (yes, self-centered is a play on words). In this episode I want to dive into both of those and when it can be helpful to have that deep dive into your life and when you need to focus on being audience-centered in your message.
Tune into the audio:
So let's talk about the self-centered message.
This type of message comes from your experience.
If you were working with a messaging professional who wanted to help you find your message, what they would do is they would interview you about everything that has happened in your life. You would tell all of your stories and your secrets and from that they would piece together what your message is all about.
Now, this type of messaging, it would be great if you were writing a memoir or if you are famous and people know you and are curious about your life, or if you've accomplished something that no one has ever done before and you're blowing people's minds with that accomplishment.
However, running a business, seeing yourself as an expert, as a thought leader, as a change-maker in your industry, the issue with the self-centered message philosophy is, you are the center of your message.
You have made your business the transformation you provide all about you.
Here's the deal: in business, people are looking for a guide.
We're looking for someone to solve our problems or help us along our own journey when we're constantly telling our own story as the central focus of your message.
There is definitely a time where storytelling and telling your story is important, but it's not the message that you're leading with because people want a guide.
They want to know that you can help them and when you're using self-centered messaging they're basically saying, “wow, cool story. Now I hope I can find someone who helps me with my thing.”
The other issue that I have with this is around trauma.
I don't feel that it's necessary to splunk around in your trauma or the stories or the things that have happened to you in your life to find your messaging.
Why do you need to re-traumatize yourself to find the message?
Not only that, when we share from that space of our deepest darkest secrets and our stories, it can be triggering for our audiences and we are asking them to hold space for the things that happened to us.
For me, the big issue is asking your audience to hold space for this traumatic story when it may be very triggering for them. So what's useful about this is yes, figuring out which parts of your story you should be telling to connect with your audience. I think that is key, but it is not the message.
You are not the message you support the message. You are the steward of the message.
Let's talk about this from the way that I approach messaging, which is the audience-centered message approach.
Everything I've ever done in my business is always in service to the audience, to your clients, to your customers.
This type of messaging comes from what you stand for and comes from the lessons you've learned. Yes, that might have to do with your story, but it's not your story. It's the moral of the story.
Audience-centered messaging comes from the change you want to create in others.
So in the 3 Word Rebellion book, there aren't very many questions asking you about your personal experiences.
In the messaging intensive, I do talk about signature storytelling and that's to support your 3 Word Rebellion, your customer journey, but it's not the center or the heart of it.
It's important as a business owner, as an expert, as a speaker, as a thought leader, to be focused on the people who need your message, who need a particular problem solved, who need to get past resistance.
Because if you think of a fairy tale or a fable, there's always a moral to the story. It's the big takeaway.
So your story can give us moral and that's where a message can come, but it's not the story itself.
The big benefit of having an audience centered message is that people are likely to talk about your message because it is about them.
They can have conversations about it, they can talk about, “hey, I just saw this great video and this is what the person was saying….”
And so they're spreading that message for you because it feels so relevant to them.
This way of doing messaging, it's infinitely scalable because it's not reliant on you two, spread your message.
Because I have this weird belief that your message is out doing its own thing. Like the 3 Word Rebellion is out there doing its own thing. It's impacting people every single day. It's doing it independent of me and I see evidence of that almost every single day.
So when you separate yourself from your message, you're letting it have a life of its own.
If you're asking yourself which school of thought is better, well, you can see I am clearly biased when it comes to business or if you're a speaker, I always think your audience should be at the center of all of your messaging.
It should matter to them, but really it's up to you to decide what works for you because it always is up to you.
However, if you do decide that you want an audience centered message, then let's talk about creating that so that you can start your 2020 strong and be strategic about growing your audience, building your business, increasing your income, and reaching more people.
I would love to have a discovery call with you to talk about the 3 Word Rebellion, messaging intensive and all you have to do for this call is to bring all of your ideas to me. We'll see if this is the right next step for your business so you can book a call to work on your messaging that's going to carry your business forward for the next three to five years and beyond.
If you're a business owner or speaker, it's imperative that you put your audience at the center of your message. The message needs to matter to them as well as you.