Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The #1 Mistake Made by Most Thought Leaders – Even the Pros

“I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!”

That’s what your readers, listeners, viewers, subscribers and audience members need to think after they’ve been exposed to your ideas.

That they can take action.

In a non-legal sense, of course.

Otherwise, your material, ideas and presentations are nothing but motivational garbage. Inherently impressive and interesting, yet clearly irrelevant and inapplicable.

That’s the BIG mistake made by too many writers, thinkers and speakers...

They spew a steady stream self-glorifying wisdom that proves how smart they are; but forget to challenge people by leaving them with any Meaningful Concrete Immediacy, (MCI).

Your task is to cause people to shake their heads and say, “Yes!” by creating and delivering actionable content.

I repeat: Actionable.

And I mean that in the most non-lawyerly way possible.

It’s got nothing to do with suing people.
It’s something you achieve by telling people HOW.

Because ultimately, that’s all people care about, or have the time and patience for.

THINK ABOUT IT: As most people read or watch or listen to you, they’re probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, just get to the point. I don’t want to hear your life story. I’m not interested in your four-page philosophy that explains the behavioral tendencies of Canadian Bobcats in heat. Cut the crap and just tell me how.”

Just tell me how.

You might want to write those four words on a sticky note and slap it on your laptop.

Because that’s the posture of the masses. That’s the collective self-interest of our hyperspeed, A.D.D. instant gratification culture.

They want to know HOW, and they want to know NOW.

So, at this point you’re probably asking yourself the question: “OK, but, HOW do I tell people how?”

I’m glad you asked. Because I have some answers for you.

Actually, it’s more of a checklist. A self-assessment. A system for preventing your content from coming off as impractical, motivational fluff.

Next time you’re preparing a presentation, blog post, article, newsletter, or any other form of content delivery, ask yourself a few these questions to assure the actionability of your material.

1. How does this idea directly affect the daily lives of people?

2. How will people be able to execute your strategy in spite of their boss’s insistence on doing it the old way?

3. If someone else were delivering this information, what would move ME to take action on it immediately?

4. What actions can people take to eliminate or minimize barriers to their boldness of moving forward?

5. What are the reasons, barriers, fears, assumptions and blocks that are preventing these people from taking action, and how could you address them in a way that dispels the myth and gives them confidence to move NOW?

6. What assignment can you give people that, when they’ve completed it, they will be ready to move forward?

7. What checklist could you give people to keep them accountable and consistent in the future?

8. What common behaviors, warning signs, mistakes or missteps could you make people aware of so that, in the future, they could better recognize and avoid them?

9. What equation, algorithm, formula or system could you give people that they could easily plug themselves, their situation or their company into?

10. What exercise can you give for people to do right now, or when they’re done reading or listening?

REMEMBER: Persuasion = Content + Action.

It’s about impact – NOT information.

Because last time I checked on Google, we already had enough of that.

It's simple: Just tell people how.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How actionable is your content?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “63 Self-Assessment Questions to Measure the Actionability of Your Content,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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