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Sep 20, 2017

When you’re putting a message together you need to be aware of what kind of form people like to hear a message take. Some people like stories, or quotes, or to see the data behind something, or even to be coached through an exercise that helps them experience a message for themselves. In this episode, Tamsen explains the four message mindsets: the Commander, the Counselor, the Showman, and the Sage.

Sep 13, 2017

We want to make our message memorable, but how do we make it memorable to us? When we focus on memorizing things word-for-word, we often forget the meaning behind those words. The problem is that, as the Red Thread teaches us, it’s the meaning that matters. The meaning, not the words, is what transfers from person to person.

When you’re trying to make your message memorable to you, internalize, don’t memorize. That doesn’t mean you won’t find language and phrases that you’ll want to use over and over again, but when you focus on the meaning you’ll find the best way to say those words.

Sep 6, 2017

Find the Red Thread at TamsenWebster.com.

What do you do when your message starts to feel flat? First of all, don’t worry, because it’s a perfectly normal feeling, especially if all you’re working with is a tagline or a positioning statement. Those things often focus on surface details and don’t give us a roadmap for what we could potentially talk about.

However, when we think more deeply about what we can offer, then we have more detail we can add. The more dimension we can see, the more detail we can provide. The view you’ve been staring at has rich depth and dimensionality if you start asking the right questions.

Aug 30, 2017

When you’re trying to figure out how to craft your message for all of the different people you want it to reach, you can end up addressing the question you want to answer, rather than the question your audience needs to have answered. The good news is that there are three universal questions that everyone needs an answer to before they will change their behavior or their action: Why?, What now?, and How?

The even better news? Depending on which question is most important to your audience, it can help you determine which type of message you need to prepare.

Aug 23, 2017

So you’ve done a lot of great work on your Red Thread and you think you have a great talk mapped out, but there’s one problem: you need to figure out how to start. This week on Find the Red Thread we take a look at the three ways that comedians and other successful presenters do openings.

No matter how you go about it, the first step is the Goal, and you have a lot of different options for how to get people there. By changing up how you introduce your Red Thread you can make a talk or presentation that hooks them from the start.

Aug 16, 2017

Even if you’re not in Sales, the fact is you still have to sell all the time. A lot of the time we don’t know what to say when we’re on a sales call because it feels uncomfortable, or like we’re pushing ourselves onto somebody else.

However, when you understand how people make decisions, what you say in a sales call becomes very simple. It's even simpler when you realize that how people make decisions follows the same path as the Red Thread.

Aug 9, 2017

Our brains are wired to try to make meaning— scientists call it the “make-sense mandate.” When researchers gave people three random sentences they would always try to string them together into some type of story.


The pieces of the Red Thread can help because they help you put your message in those terms— a problem that gets in the way of a goal, an idea that reveals a new opportunity, and a change that results. Our brains are hungry for story, so take advantage of that to make your message more engaging.

Aug 2, 2017

The most powerful messages are heard at both the fast and slow levels. We need to appeal to the emotional, irrational part of our brains by following story structure and using the Red Thread. At the same time, we also need to make sure that our message makes intellectual sense, that each step has been thought through and stands on its own.

The next time you’re putting together a message or presentation, ask yourself: am I finding a balance between fast and slow thinking? If you can get it right, you can craft a message that resonates.

Jul 26, 2017

This week on Find the Red Thread, Tamsen looks at Warby Parker to show us a great example of a Red Thread being used to its best effect.

It all starts with the question, “Who am I for?” Warby Parker has narrowed that down with glasses are low price, high design, and that benefit someone in need when you make a purchase. Working backward from Warby Parker’s target audience, we can look at their about page to see how each step of the Red Thread lands with that audience.

Jul 19, 2017

Our brains continually make split-second decisions about what to hold onto and what to let go of. As communicators, we need to make sure we’re giving our listeners the hooks they need hold onto our message, and we do that by making meaning.


When you’re looking at how your message is organized, you need to make sure that the pieces of the Red Thread show up either as an introduction to or summary of the information that you present. That way you can be sure you’re giving your audience the hooks they need to remember your key information.

Jul 12, 2017

One of the best ways to get better at crafting messages around a Red Thread is to see how it shows up in other places. Most people aren’t explicitly using the Red Thread Method, but there are some “tells” that signal where the key concepts are in a message or story.


In this episode, we look at the most common Red Thread tells, little phrases in other people’s messages that tell you when they’re stating the Goal, the Problem, the Idea, the Chance, or the Action. Paying attention to these cues will help you spot the Red Thread in the wild.

Jul 5, 2017

Find the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.

After putting so much work into your Red Thread, you want to be sure that your message will stick. The key is to understand how to engage with different learning styles, but probably not the ones you’ve been taught.

While everyone has heard about the differences between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners, most don’t realize that studies have consistently shown that those categories make little to no difference with learning. Instead, they point to something else entirely: the difference between a Rule Learner and an Example Learner.

Jun 28, 2017

It’s sometimes hard to tell what can take your idea from good to great, but we know that difference is a game changer. This week, Tamsen breaks down the two things that get in the way of an amazing Red Thread: fear and baby steps.

If you want to take your talk to the next level, you need to move beyond the standard answers. We look how you can use the three universal questions— Why?, What?, and How?— to craft a message that will resonate with everybody.

Jun 21, 2017

When we put a message out there, we want to make sure that people end up thinking differently afterward. The challenge is that sitting between where somebody is and where you want them to be is a giant, yawning gap that Tamsen calls the “No Hole.”

The key is to understand how people make decisions. If you can introduce the right information to get people to say yes to the smaller steps that make up the pieces of the Red Thread, you can build up to get a yes for the bigger steps, too. The key, as Tamsen explains, is to make sure you think through each step to understand where you’re going to have the biggest trouble getting someone to say yes, so you know where to spend your energy to succeed.

Jun 14, 2017

Find the Red Thread at http://tamsenwebster.com

If you’ve been working on finding your own Red Thread, there are some common pitfalls that you need to watch out for. In this episode, Tamsen goes through each step of the Red Thread— Goal, Problem, Idea, Change, and Action— and points out how to approach each one.

Jun 7, 2017

Find the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com

When Tamsen and her husband took a vacation to Amsterdam, they stopped by Manchester, England to catch some music by one of their favorite bands. They had a day free and asked their local friend for advice, he suggested they take a visit to Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, and home to a powerful Red Thread.

No matter who you are, one thing we’re all trying to figure out is how to make an enduring mark on the world. Is what we have enough? At the core of the Red Thread is the idea that you already have what you need to hold onto because it starts with what you already do. If you have clarity around that, it’s easy for people to get onboard.

May 31, 2017

What do you do when you have less time to present your pitch or speech than you thought you had? It can be terrifying, especially if you’re not in charge of what the product of that edited message is going to be. In this episode of Find the Red Thread, we take a look at just how much power a great Red Thread can have by examining a video summary of a clip of Sheryl Sandberg’s 2017 Commencement Address to Virginia Tech.

Tamsen breaks down the video summary of clip of Sandberg’s talk to highlight how her Goal, Problem, Idea, and Change statements create a strong throughline that survives even a huge edit. If you build your message up from the Red Thread you can easily expand it for a larger presentation, but you also know what you need to hit for a shorter version that has the same impact as the full talk.

Want more information on how to find your (or your organization's) Red Thread? Find that and more at TamsenWebster.com.

May 26, 2017

Presence is something we all aspire to cultivate, but it’s something we struggle to define. It’s easy to tell when it’s not there, but figuring out how to get it is a different story entirely. To a certain extent, the question itself is leading us astray: presence isn’t something we can go get, it’s the product of other things.

Tamsen uses a demonstration to illustrate the three important elements of presence, to help you figure out what you need in your message. When you combine a clear Red Thread with a solid platform and tie it to your audience, you’ll have everything you need to bring presence to what you do.

Want more information on how to find your (or your organization's) Red Thread? Find that and more at TamsenWebster.com.

May 17, 2017

When we’re looking for a job, we often get fixated on a single question: “What should I do?” But this can get us off track, and distract us from asking ourselves what will make us feel truly comfortable, powerful, and strong in that new job. This is where your Red Thread comes in.

If you’re looking at where you are right now and you’re not sure if you should stay, look at the concepts of problem, idea, and change, and see if they match up between you and your employer.

Want more information on how to find your (or your organization's) Red Thread? Find that and more at TamsenWebster.com.

May 11, 2017

How do you make your message more interesting? As Nick Morgan says, “the difference between a story and an anecdote is the presence of conflict.” Suspense creates anticipation around what the answer might be, which automatically gets people more involved in what you’re saying. Rather than tell, we need to reveal.

When we’re putting messages together, it’s critical to figure out how to put conflict into place. The format of the Red Thread can help you because you’re always looking for what the problem is that’s getting in the way of the goal. When you’re looking at your message, ask yourself: are you giving away what you want people to do too soon?

Want more information on how to find your (or your organization's) Red Thread? Find that and more at TamsenWebster.com.

May 4, 2017

What we often miss when we’re putting together a message is the mindset of the person that we’re talking to. There’s two phases when we’re making a decision: first we gather information, and then we look at that information in order to make a choice. People have to learn about something before they’re going to do something.

The key is to understand where your audience is in this process. If you’re talking to someone in the learning phase, you’re going to put them off by pushing them to buy or do something before they’re ready. You need to know where your audience is in their journey, and use the Red Thread to focus in on reaching them where they are.

Get more tips and tricks on finding the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.

Apr 26, 2017

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is a classic fable with a memorable moral: slow and steady wins the race. However, if you asked someone in Ancient Greece what it meant, they would tell you that even the greatest gifts could be ruined by idleness.

Stories are uniquely powerful at transferring meaning from one person to another. But there’s a danger there, because if your Red Thread isn’t perfectly clear and you don’t tell your audience the moral of the story, they are going to default to the one that they know. Two people can look at the same set of events and draw completely different conclusions.

However, as Tamsen shows us, the good news is that even though people love the familiar, they remember the new. If you can take what’s known and use the Red Thread to add that new piece to it, you can make something memorable and meaningful.

Get more tips and tricks on finding the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.

Apr 21, 2017
Because the Red Thread is critical to what you’re trying to say, it’s critical that you understand who they are first. That’s why we need to start with a simple question: who are you for?
Different people have different perspectives on things, even if their demographics match on paper. Your audience’s awareness of the change you want them to make, and their readiness to make that change, will have a dramatic impact on the goal, the problem, and the idea that you use to build your Red Thread. Tamsen explains why we need to think beyond demographics and look much more closely at mindset.
Get more tips and tricks on finding the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.
Apr 12, 2017

When we’re trying to get someone to make a change, there are certain fundamental questions that they have to get answered before they will give it a try.

When something is not working about your message, try going through the steps of the Red Thread: is the problem convincing? Is there an idea to put the problem in perspective and set up the change?

In this episode of the Red Thread, Tamsen explains why presenting a problem and a solution aren’t enough. You need to make sure that what comes in between makes sense, because meaning drives change.

Apr 5, 2017
This week on Find the Red Thread, you have some homework to do. Take a look at “My Stroke of Insight,” a TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, and find the four statements she makes that capture key pieces of the Red Thread.
By looking at clips of different segments of the talk, we can break down how Taylor strings together the elements of the goal, the problem, the idea, and the action, and revisits them at key moments in her talk to move her audience to action.
Get more tips and tricks on finding the Red Thread at tamsenwebster.com.
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