One of the greatest benefits of being active in social media over the last decade has been the opportunity to meet and often befriend so many truly impressive, insightful and downright smart people. And today, I’m so very glad to highlight one of those folks and her brand new book, The Red Thread – How To Make Your Idea Irresistible, Tamsen Webster.
I’ve been waiting for quite a while for her to finally publish this piece of brilliance. Truth – I’ve actually paid to attend one of her one-day Red Thread sessions (virtually of course) and it was such a powerful experience, I spent the entire night rewriting a keynote I was delivering the NEXT DAY to mirror her Red Thread approach to message design. I’ve even based parts of our Pitch Perfect PowerPoint Sales Deck Design product on her thinking.
That’s how smart her thinking is and how helpful her Red Thread approach to message development is to crafting truly persuasive presentations, keynotes, breakouts and sales presentations.
Why I Love This Book
In other words, people [Self-Educating Buyers] don’t just want an answer to the questions they have. They want their answer. They need to find their own way to your idea, which is what the Red Thread will help them do.
It’s like I’m always saying in our workshops and webinars – nobody wants to be sold, they want to feel like they made the right buying decision – so help them do that and you’ll never have an issue selling anything to anyone.
So What Is The Red Thread?
The Red Thread approach breaks down your presentation development into five key areas:
- Establishing a GOAL—the action of a story begins when we discover what someone wants.
- Introducing a PROBLEM someone didn’t know they had—this creates conflict and tension, which is the engine of all action.
- Discovering a TRUTH that makes inaction impossible, because it puts the goal in jeopardy. This discovery forces a person to choose something.
- Deciding to CHANGE—this is what happens as a result of the truth, and it determines whether or not the ending is happy.
- Turning the change into ACTION—this is what someone does to make the change real.
How Can You Use The Red Thread Approach?
I’ve used the Red Thread approach to create everything from social selling keynotes and training decks to social media content and pretty much everything in between. But a few executions where Tamsen has seen her clients really find true value in applying the Red Thread are:
- marketing messages and materials
- strategic sales conversations
- pitches and internal presentations
- public presentations like keynotes, breakout sessions, and multi-part workshops
- fundraising asks
- books and online content
So if any of those are things you’re creating on a day-to-day basis or even once a quarter… go grab this book. I promise you understanding the approach and then applying it to your thinking will instantly help you become more persuasive.
A Simple Idea Quality Test
This was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. Tamsen provides a simple, repeatable filter to run all ideas against to help you hone them until they are the absolute, most powerful version of themselves.
You see, the most common place ideas fail is at the point of explanation— when someone has to summarize their idea, quickly, to someone else who knows nothing about that idea already.
Imagine you strike up a conversation with someone and they ask you this question: “So, what is your idea?”
How do you answer?
Well according to Tamsen, you need to filter that answer against the following:
- Is it one sentence?
- Is it 140 characters or fewer?
- Does it use only words that someone who knows nothing about your idea would easily understand?
- Does it include something your audience wants?
- Would your audience agree that they want it? Out loud? In front of colleagues or friends?
- Does it include something they haven’t heard before?
If you answered no to any of these questions, the power of your message is very likely getting “lost in translation.” But luckily for you, by the end of the book, you’ll be able to craft a crisp, concise, and compelling statement—your Red Thread Throughline. You’ll be able to not only answer yes to each of these questions, but also create a message with the power to move your audience to act.
And all for less than $20 bucks if you purchase the paperback version and less than $10 bucks if you’re a Kindle kind of person. How’s that for a deal! Have I mentioned that you should probably go grab your own copy of The Red Thread? 😉
Win An Autographed Copy of The Red Thread
That’s right… Tamsen was nice enough to send us a handful of copies to give away to our valued readers! Woot!
So if you’d rather try your luck then swipe your card, click the button below to enter to win one of FIVE autographed copies.
One Idea But Infinite Stories
Your message is the words you need to say to an audience about your idea to achieve a particular outcome. Even though you may have one idea, you can’t ever have just one message about it.
According to Tamsen (and I agree), every time you need your idea to produce a different outcome, it needs to “wear” a different message.
And that is the power of the Red Thread.
The results of the process outlined in the book appear now in hundreds of messages, marketing campaigns, presentations, TED and TEDx talks, keynotes, books, and more.
Even though the underlying structure remains the same, the variety, style, and kinds of content and conversions you can build on your Red Thread are nearly infinite. That’s the wild and wonderful discovery that drew me to Tamsen’s Red Thread in the first place.
So do yourself a favor – you’ve got a long weekend right around the corner – go grab a copy of The Red Thread and make yourself a better, more persuasive presenter of information and ideas.
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