I don’t know about you but sometimes I take too long to get to the point. Instead of listening, my captive audience goes on a mental vacation. They feel talked “at” rather than “with. “ Especially if something is really important to me or I know too much on the topic I fall victim to what the Heaths dub the semantic stretch). I confuse or bore them with the “underbrush” of wordy qualifiers and background details. Once they tune me out it is very hard to get them back.

Harness the Power of Us in This Flattening World

Do people stop listening before you stop talking? Want to attract support or other involvement? Then first take a deep breath and ask yourself this powerful Four-Part Question. As you get clear and specific about all four parts you and your message will be credible and compelling for the people you want to reach:

Why are 1. You telling 2. Me 2. This Message 3. Now?

Here’s an inspiring real life example …
1. You (the person who wants people to listen)
Duke College junior Josh Sommer …

2. Me (the listener or listeners)
… is telling his peers around the world (people most likely to identify with and support him)

3. This Message (what’s written or said)
… that he seeks their donations for research for a form of cancer he has.

4. Now? (the timeliness of this message for these listeners)
This is a rare bone cancer with low survival rates so more research needs to be done … soon.

Build into your message Credibility Reinforcers.
For example, what are you already doing in support of your message? Per Ben Casnocha, “Instead of waiting around for scientists to make progress on a potential cure, Josh has jumped into the fray to try to save his own life.

• He and his mom launched the Chordoma Foundation to promote research of potential cures and galvanize the research community.

• He works 30 hours a week in Duke labs with professors who have agreed to study the problem.

• In the meantime, he lobbies congress to implement legislation that would better prevent the accumulation of toxic mold in buildings as toxic mold in his house partly caused his disease.”

If you are going to ask a question or ask for something else, prepare first by using this version of the Four-Part Question:
Why are You Asking Me This Question Now?

1. Stand above the growing crowd of people seeking support for their causes at Facebook by first asking yourself The Four-Part Question.

2. Then share your well-articulated message with related support groups and on other social networks that are also free for you to use, including Ning, zaadz, and gather.

3. As you build momentum for your message, praise others for their support when the media comes to interview you. Then more varied media will pick up the story and spread it for you - whatever your cause.

Author's Bio: 

Emmy-winning former Wall Street Journal and NBC reporter, Kare Anderson is the author of SmartPartnering, Resolving Conflict Sooner, Beauty Inside Out and LikeAbility and publisher of Moving From Me to We and the Say it Better newsletter with 38,000 subscribers in 26 countries. She speaks and writes on becoming sought-after in this flattening world by harnessing the power of us. Her clients are as diverse as Pfizer, Human Rights Watch, Venrock, National League of Cities and Nordstrom. As David Rockefeller said after hearing her speak, "Kare forever changes how you see yourself and your world."