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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Message Brainstorming: Opening Up The Bottle

Esquire’s Ross McCammon was intentionally making light of corporate message brainstorming sessions in his recent blog "What's The Secret to Brainstorming?"

We took the tongue-in-cheek approach in stride   -- "You could put a bottle of tequila in the middle of the table" – after all, we at CommCore have our own message development methodology and techniques that do produce results. What we liked was that overall he struck the right tone: brainstorming does work, but give participants room to have fun, be engaged and be creative:

"You're surrounded by smart people," McCammon wrote. "And the reason you're leading the meeting is because you've become successful enough that you can tell a good idea from a bad one. As the leader, you allow people to go down certain roads and abandon others. But gently."

Among his other tips: allow silence; people in thought shouldn't always be talking or listening. And if you feel the discussion is going down the wrong path and needs to be redirected on point, don't step in and stop it; wait for a pause, and simply, declaratively, ask the mission question again out loud.

Message development is a crucial process for most business communications – a media interview, a presentation to stakeholders, legislative or regulatory testimony, crisis response, a public speech. It is important because what you say has to accomplish three things at once – resonate with and meet the needs of your audience; meet your own organizational, brand or personal needs; and be true to you as a spokesperson.
Preparation is essential to hit on all cylinders, and the tools and techniques of message development, if properly applied, should draw out the best ideas, stories, analogies and sound bites.
What are some of your experiences with Message Development? Did the process work? If yes, how and why? If not, why?

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