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No 3 of the 10 Sun Tzu rules for a Networked World

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How can we send one message to the fans about what is happening and why it is important?

This rule looks innocuous. After all, how hard can it be to write one short message of 100 or so characters that sums up what you want to say and why it is important?

Do we convey our understanding of the world – or do we get distracted?

The original example was provided by Umair Haque when he wrote his rules for 5G warfare in the current healthcare debate in the States.  Often we start rebutting another version of reality when we should be stressing what is important.

We get a sense of what is important or not in the way a message is framed.  Framing a message tells us which facts are important.  Once we see which facts take us where we want to be, we can ignore the noise.

An example we all know too well

One of my favorite examples of lousy “feed forward” is the progress map that passengers are shown on a long haul flight. Bad, bad idea. We do not want to be reminded that we have 10 more hours in a sardine can. Personally, I don’t want to be reminded that I have no control. So I switch off and don’t look.

But if the message were overlaid with colours that related to “lights dimmed for sleeping” followed by another colour for “lights brightened & breakfast” and another for “seat belts fastened and preparation for descent” and another “descent and landing”, then we would have a sense that of what happens when and even a sense of urgency about curling up and having snooze while we get the chance.

Then I would look. Then I would experience as sense of comfort and relief.

Who drew the map?

It is the framing of the message that digs deep into professional expertise.

Novices are famous for noticing superficial detail A medical student remembers what you wore. The consultant remembers what they diagnosed and prescribed (they don’t even remember your symptoms!)

An expert chunks; relevantly.

Our job as leaders, influencers and communicators

What we are going to do is supply our expertise in a chunk that is intelligible to our fans – and yet adds tremendous value because it is the right chunk.

What are the chunks that matter? Make sure you know. Then you can package them easily.

And this is what you, as the expert about your product and service, knows best.

The social media component comes with framing those chunks in language your clients can understand in re-tweetable messages of 100 characters including a link back to resources for your fans to dig deep.

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Published in Business & Communities


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