Structuring Our Messages

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end woven together to create a cohesive and engaging experience for an audience.  Our messages are no different.  A well-crafted message can draw people in, speak to them directly, and ignite a spark within them to feel a certain way, take action, and/or think about something differently.  The structure we use to craft our messages plays an important role in how we do this and how well they are received by our audience.  Three (3) keys to structuring our messages which will create resonance with our audiences are listed below.

Actions

  1. Tone – Our tone while speaking and writing plays an important role in conveying our messages and how they are interrupted by others.  When speaking, this happens through our words, voice, and body language.  However, when we write, this happens solely through our words and requires extra planning.  As such, the tone of our words is a critical component of how our messages are received.  When crafting our words, thinking about what tone, e.g., connotation, they convey can greatly help.  For instance, are they talking at someone using “you,” or are they talking with someone using “we?”  Do they come across as directive or collaborative?  These questions are simple yet powerful!  Reviewing what we write, or what we are going to say, though these lenses can help us craft a message which IS well received and resonates with our audience through a collective sense of collaboration and cooperation.  Being mindful of our tone WILL help us truly hit home with our audience.

    What tone do you currently use within your messaging?  Pro tip: Carefully rereading what we write or reviewing what we want to say multiple times will help us catch any tonality we want to change or need to shift.
  1. Imagery – Whether we are including an image in our social media posts, emails, or blogs, the imagery we use in our messages plays a significant role.  In fact, an image is often the way in which we are drawn in.  For example, how often are you drawn into a movie, tv show, or book based upon the cover art?  We, as human beings, are very visual creatures.  The right image can go a long way in our messages to add weight, power, solidarity, and even let our audience know they are not alone!  Notably, the image we choose should align with the overall intention behind our message and what we want to convey to our audience.  In addition, the colors, the setting, and the people, places, and things depicted within the image all come into play too.  Considering all of these factors when choosing an image for our message WILL ensure we align it to what we want to convey AND create greater resonance with our audience.

    What image do you feel represents the message you want to convey?  Pro tip: Starting with the images, themes, and elements which naturally form in your mind while crafting your message is a great place to start for choosing an actual image for your message.
  1. Cohesiveness – Just like stories, messages have different parts to them.  When they all fit together, the message feels cohesive; however, when they do not fit together, the message can feel like it is all over the place.  Taking a moment up front to consider the storied structure, e.g., beginning, middle, and end, as well as the physical look of our messages, from its image to its readability, will greatly benefit the cohesiveness of our messages.  In essence, what is the overall theme of our message and how are we drawing our audience in, continuing to keep their attention, and concluding our message in a way that brings it all together?  Simply put, are we cohesively telling a single constant story throughout our message?  Asking ourselves these questions and including these elements WILL create greater resonance with our audience and make it easier for our message to be heard AND understood.

    How are your messages structured currently?  Do they feel cohesive or all over the place?  Pro tip: Starting from what messages you truly resonate with and how they are structured cohesively provides great insight into where to start for your own messages.  In addition, crafting your messages in a way which your audience wants to receive them can boost the receptivity of your message even more, i.e., being short and concise due to being overwhelmed with content.

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