Following is an excerpt from the recent position paper, “Eleven Elements to Mold a Magnetic Message: How to Shape Your Story for the Press, Policymakers, and the Public.” We’ll discuss each of the Eleven Elements individually to help you get a better handle on each one. Today, let’s turn to Element Nine, Test.
“There is a weird power in a spoken word. – Joseph Conrad
Once you have achieved a first cut of your magnetic message, it is time to see if it can withstand rigorous questioning. What is the best way to test its attraction? Think of all the tough questions reporters, audience members, and public officials could toss at you. If your message responds successfully, you are in good shape.
It is vital that your preparations include practice dealing with hardballs. Going over questions in your mind is not enough. Simulate the real thing by having co-workers give you the third degree. Make the office skeptic a part of your routine. If one or more of your message points is responsive to the salvos of this cynic, you likely have attained the necessary magnetism.
Another method of testing your message is to seek reaction from trusted colleagues and peers outside your organization. This external criticism can provide you with the unvarnished insights you need before venturing into the real world.
For higher stakes opportunities, you may wish to consider more formal measurements, such as surveying key constituencies.
Okay, your turn. How do you test the resilience and security of your message?