How to Make a Heavy Message Uplifting


Thaís’ Story

Is your message challenging to communicate?

Meet Thaís. She is an undocumented citizen and immigration activist. She is a talented and passionate advocate around this issue, but she finds some get depressed by her message and take no action.

In this way, her message isn’t getting the result she wants.

As she told me her own life story, I noticed the embarrassment that could pop up, and all the things she has to think about and deal with on a daily basis that others don’t. Which leads me to a key part of my job as coach: to remind you what your audience may be thinking when you share your message.

When someone listens to you, they naturally make your story about them. We all do this! We try to connect to it in some way, and this often means we hit the same challenge you’ve already identified about your message.

​​So if you’re telling a heavy story and your goal is to keep your listener engaged, you have two options:
1) you help manage their experience of it so they continue thinking about it and take action on it.
2) don’t manage their experience, and risk them walking away feeling overwhelmed/guilty and in desperate need of a comedy special to take their mind off of it.

Which of those one serves your goal more? Yup, that’s what I thought!​​

When you talk about your work or share your message, how do people react? How might you guide them to the reaction you want?

Here are a few ways to make a heavy message uplifting:

6 ways to make a heavy message uplifting

1. Invoke Nostalgia. Tell us about your first car, your first job, a memory from elementary school. We’ll picture ourselves at that time in our lives as well.

2. Don’t Pause on Negatives. Move quickly from unresolved problems to positive results, even small ones. “Growing up, being undocumented felt like a secret I didn’t want anyone to know. It wasn’t till high school I realized that so many of the people I grew up with were also undocumented, and that I was no longer alone.”

3. Proportioning. Spend 80% of your time on your uplifting content, 20% on the sobering stuff.

4. End on the Top Floor. Sharing a heavy message is like riding in an emotional elevator. It’s okay to be depressing as long as you end in a clear place of hope and action.

5. Successful Surrogate. Tell a story of someone who experienced the problem you’re talking about, and how they were ultimately successful. Your listener will vicariously experience the same journey to a better outcome.

6. Positive Reframe. “Did you know that only 30% of adults in the US have a budget? This means if you create a budget, you’ll be in that SUCCESSFUL MINORITY of people who actually know where their money is going each month.“

Listen to Thaís story…

If you’d like to strengthen your stories using the exact same process Thaís did, check out the Strategic Storytelling Masterclass.

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