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Sticky Content - 11/27/2012 -

Here are three ways to make sure your article or blog’s main points resonate with members.

By Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Tying a powerful, repeatable message to each major point in your messaging to members gives your association a "phrase that pays.” The following are techniques that help to create or identify your memorable phrase in articles, blogs, video, and more.

The "Two and a Half Men” Technique

One very popular sitcom on TV at the moment is Two and a Half Men. Many people don’t realize that the unusual titles of the episodes always occur in the dialogue of one of the characters:

  • Go East on Sunset Until You Reach the Gates of Hell
  • If I Can’t Write My Chocolate Song, I’m Going to Take a Nap
  • The Last Thing You Want Is to Wind Up With a Hump
  • Did You Check With the Captain of the Flying Monkeys?
  • Can’t Afford Hyenas
  • Round One to the Hot Crazy Chick
  • I Remember the Coatroom, I Just Don’t Remember You
  • Back Off, Mary Poppins

Viewers begin watching for the title to occur in the show’s dialogue. If you are a fan, you can probably even guess which character said each title. The actor’s dialogue amuses us and cements the show. The brilliant writers know we—the audience—will go out and retell the storylines. The result is that we add to the show’s success with our word-of-mouth reviews and advertising.

So, how can this help you as a communicator? When you give members a catchy, repeatable phrase—something funny, powerful, or thought provoking—they will be eager to repeat it to others. When your power phrases are attached to your content and examples, you will create an ever-expanding network of people retelling your association’s key messages.

The "Quote Others" Technique

Let the wisdom in your writing come from the actual advice or dialogue of others—not yourself. Reframe and emphasize your own key points with the pithy comments of others. It is important to let your audience know that you had to learn what they are learning, and give credit to who passed on that knowledge. You never want to be the hero of all your stories.

For example, in my leadership speech, I tell the story of how I learned to better manage my staff.

"In 1975, I opened my first business. My staff quickly made it known what they thought of my leadership style by assigning me a few non-complimentary nicknames.”

"With my life savings tied up in this business and a 10-year lease, I realized I had to do something fast. So I attended my first leadership seminar. The seminar leader said something I will never forget. It was as relevant in 1975 as it is in 2012. He said: ‘Your business is as good as your worst employee.’”

After a pause to let that idea sink in, I ask my audience, "Isn’t that a terrifying thought while you are attending this conference for the next three days?”

Let Others Provide Your "Phrase That Pays”

While phrases usually derive from stories, sometimes a dynamite phrase can send you looking for a story to present it. Here are some great phrases that I’ve encountered:

"Don’t focus on making a lot of money. Rather, focus on becoming the type of person others want to do business with, and you most likely will make a lot of money.” A. H. Fripp

"If you roll out the red carpet for a billionaire, they won’t even notice it. If you roll out the red carpet for a millionaire, they expect it. If you roll out the red carpet for a "thousandaire,” they appreciate it. But if you roll out the red carpet for a "hundredaire,” they tell everybody they know.” Banking executive Gary Richter

Listen to speakers and read newspaper and magazine articles and blogs, trying to spot the "phrase that pays”—the point of wisdom, the sound bite, the foundational phrase. If there isn’t one, practice by creating one.

Get the idea? You can develop unending ideas that become fresh and powerful when aided by your stories and personal experiences, then summarized in your "phrase that pays.” Developing a phrase, quote, or anecdote that resonates with members will get your association’s stories told again and again.

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, a speaker and coach, works with individuals and organizations to help them gain a competitive edge through powerful, persuasive presentation skills. She is past-president of the National Speakers Association.


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