Wednesday, February 19, 2014

COMMUNICATION & MESSAGING: Why the "Why" Is So Important

Ask any company what they do and what they stand for. You'll always get an answer.  Everyone who works there knows what the company aims to deliver.

Ask any person with a job what is is they do.  You'll always get an answer.  The fact is, we are all great at telling people about what we do.  But the real importance behind everything related to people's significance and a company's relevance  is the "why."
                                    Why do we do what we do?
                                    Why is what we do important?
                                    Why should anyone care about what we do?
                                    Why should anyone tell someone else about what we do?

A few years back, I organized an executive "media training" seminar where our team was coached to share the story behind our story.  I brought in someone I've come to really respect to work with me and our team. Brad Phillips from Phillips Media Relations told us .... focus on the why behind the what.  The art of storytelling with detail isn't something new ... but the way he framed it has stuck with me ever since. 

I have always preached the art of "storytelling" and letting people inside the "special you." Now I've got another way to say it.  "Focus on the WHY."   

It has become a part of my messaging in leading communications and media work, was a big part of how I lead our communications team at the LPGA during my time as Chief Communications Officer, and has become a part of every talk and seminar I give on media coaching, media relations or public speaking.

Think about this - we all have a resume and a list of goals or accomplishments.  We all have some degree of job title that aims to tell someone what we stand for.  But for me,  the most important thing is for people to know the details behind the list or the background behind the title.  
Ask Yourself WHY YOU Matter and Build On It

So challenge yourself to think bigger and figure out why you matter and why you make a difference.
Does YOUR News Become Disposable or Shareable?

Let me give you an example of where the "why" becomes so critical.  In the world of media relations or public relations, there are countless numbers of press releases tossed to the media each day.  Each has "news" or potential news to share.  That is the "what."  The "why" is why somebody's news becomes more "newsworthy" than someone else's news. Who's news is worth clipping because its' relevant and who's news is just an unreadable part of the paper... which could quickly turn into a paper airplane for your child?   Remember, how does it impact somebody and why should we pay attention or share this information? 

Tell Them WHY It Matters to THEM

Let's say you are giving a speech. You have a message to share.  You have plenty of details built into your presentation.... but before you take the stage, ask yourself why they need to pay attention.  Ask yourself why your information  should matter to them.  After all, your audience is there to find something of value - that benefits them. Emphasize those points as they are the things people remember and take out on the street.

We all live in a crowded arena of information where everyone is bombarded with information.  So, as you head off for work today, find a way to bust through the barrier of noise with something that really matters.  Those who truly make people stop and pay attention are those who've figured out the why.  What's yours?
As always, thanks for reading this blog and sharing with others.  I welcome your comments right here or ... follow me on Twitter @KraigKann  and follow us at @KannAdvisory and let's start a dialogue.

Thought for the day: Everybody has something to say.  Those who deliver it the best have an advantage.  Those who've thought about why what they say truly matters will succeed.

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