I had a fabulous question this week: where do we fit ‘pros' and ‘cons' in our storyline?
That is a ‘ripper' of a question.
My answer is this: lists of pros and cons don't belong in your communication, they help you think through that message.
Let me explain.
If we provide lists of pros and cons for an idea we are providing information rather than insight. This matters, because we are asking our audience to do the thinking work for us. Let me illustrate with an example
Pros of skiing in Whistler in January
- Skiing is fun
- There are lots of things to do when not skiing
- Terrain is amazingly diverse
- Resort is huge, with lots of different areas to ski
- Altitude is relatively low, so altitude sickness and asthma risk are lower than other resorts
- Easy access from Sydney (single flight + short bus ride)
Cons of skiing in Whistler in January
- Snow can be patchy, especially early in January
- Skiing is expensive
- Snow can be ‘heavy' compared with other resorts
- It rains more here than some other resorts
- Costs have risen since Vail took over the mountain
If, instead, we do the thinking for our audience, we will deliver insights that emerge from our own analysis of that pros and cons list. In comparison, here is what that might look like:
Despite Whistler's snow not being as light and fluffy as at some other resorts, it is the best place for us to ski this coming January.
- The skiing is incredible (diverse, expansive, sometimes fluffy snow)
- The village is fun when off the slopes
- It is easy to access from Sydney (single flight + short bus ride)
- Costs are manageable (know lots of people to ski with so don't need lessons, can invite friends over to eat in, etc)
- The low altitude means vulnerable family members stay healthy
If your audience is explicitly asking for pros and cons lists, pop them in the appendix. Focus your main communication around your interpretation of that list instead.
I hope that helps.
PS – For those of you in our recent group session who were asking about the recording in the portal about ‘taking a great brief', click here to access.