In our most recent working session we helped Brooke prepare a ‘quick’ storyline. Even though on the surface this story appeared straightforward, it turned into an onion.
The more we layered into it, the more we found we needed to think through.
There were enough layers, in fact, to lay the foundations for at least two weeks’ worth of emails so your weekly emails over the next few weeks will focus on our learnings from this session but of course you are welcome to devour them all right now as well!
Here are the three lessons I want to share with you.
- What to do if you have more than one purpose?
- How to decide if the story should be a grouping or deductive?
- How to slice and dice ideas into a strong hierarchy that resonates with your audience?
You'll find the recording of this working session at the bottom of the page.
Lesson 1: What to do if you have more than one purpose?
I’ll start at the start and share insights from the early parts of our discussion regarding the notion of ‘quick and easy' as well as the purpose.
Firstly, when you become bogged down with questions preparing your ‘quick and easy' communication, slow down. Don’t keep trying to smash through.
We began this working session optimistic that we would help with two pieces of communication, one for Brian and one for Brooke.
However, as we started probing and attempting to smash our way through Brooke’s story it became evident that this wouldn’t work.
Every time we thought we had something right, another question would arise that made us ask more questions.
We may have kept pushing for too long as we really wanted to make time for Brian's story, but it was an interesting exercise.
The eight or so people in the room could all see that we needed to slow down and stop smashing it out.
If you watch the recording, you will see what I mean.
Regardless, listen to your instincts and slow down when your drafting starts to feel ‘tense’ and ‘off’.
Secondly, avoid compound purposes and instead favour using the higher order action.
This single sentence provided a remarkable amount of discussion for what was in the end a fairly simple script for a presentation.
I have attached the four draft purpose statements we crowd sourced in the chat from our call along with my commentary.
The bottom one provided some extra useful debate around the right verb to use.
Did Brooke need endorsement, approval or support … or all three?
We landed on support as it required stakeholders to both endorse and approve.
If she asked for endorsement or approval, then there was no guarantee they would offer practical support.
If they committed to support, however, they would by implication be endorsing AND approving.
So, such a lot of discussion for such a small thing but very instructive all round.