• Adam Tarnow

StoryBrand Pro Tip

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Yes, I do look different. Thank you for noticing. No, I didn't start doing CrossFit, those gyms have been closed. No, I haven't started moisturizing. I'm not even entirely sure what that is.

The difference you notice is probably the latest certification I picked up. Last week I became a StoryBrand Certified Guide! Unfortunately, my Ducktorate hasn't been very valuable during this COVID-19 season. So, I had to look elsewhere.

Some of you may not be familiar with StoryBrand. Their claim to fame is the development of a simple framework designed to help businesses and organizations clarify their message. The clearer the message, the better you communicate with your customers.

StoryBrand is obsessed with clarity. They speak my love language. They speak a lot of people's love language. Clarity is always admired and appreciated.

During the training, they shared a pro-tip. When the StoryBrand team is working on a writing project, near the end of the project, they always take a step back and ask:

"How could this possibly be misunderstood?"

They claim this question, more than any other, helps them avoid confusing their audience. I've been testing this question the past few days, and here is what I like about it.

One, it doesn't give you the benefit of the doubt. No matter what you are trying to communicate, you always know your intention and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. This question assumes something will be confusing. It doesn't allow you to cut corners.

Two, it reminds you that empathy is the path to clarity. This question forces you to be empathetic. It puts you in the shoes of your audience. This question forces you to step away from your perspective and biases. It forces you to think about what you are trying to communicate from the perspective of the audience.

Three, it's easy to memorize. Just two weeks ago, I gave you five questions to help you communicate with more clarity. I bet exactly none of you have memorized those five questions. Hit delete on that email and save this one. One question is better than five.

Give this question a try today. After you compose an email, after you prepare for a meeting, or after you type out a text message, ask, "how could this possibly be misunderstood?" Whatever comes to mind, adjust accordingly.


Photo credit: jason-leung @ unsplash

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