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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.
Mar 29, 2017

This week Tamsen shows how asking the little questions will help you answer the big ones. By breaking down your mission into the five pieces of the Red Thread, you can find specific answers that will help you carve out your own path.

Tamsen breaks down various ways that companies look at the same problem, idea, or change to highlight how similar answers can lead to wildly different companies, each with their own Red Thread.

Mar 22, 2017

Understanding the Red Thread is one thing, but discovering what it means to you and your life can be tricky. What can you do to help? Think about your favorite movie.

Early in a script, many writers will include a seemingly inconsequential conversation that lays in the theme for film. Going back to your favorite movie and looking for these clues can get you on the path to finding your own Red Thread.

Mar 21, 2017

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery service. Their Red Thread is to figure out how to get something from point A to point B as quickly as possible. How do they do it? Surprisingly, it’s not about an algorithm that solves for the shortest distance; instead, it comes down to a simple solution: they don’t turn left.

What UPS realized is that solving their problem isn’t just about figuring out the shortest distance to the destination, it’s about which decisions actually impact the wait time for a package. Turning left increases the wait for the lane to clear, and also increases the risk of an accident because you’re moving through oncoming traffic.

Rather than having their Red Thread say that they do the same thing the same way every time, UPS kept their goal in mind, which allowed them to find a new solution to an old problem.

Mar 8, 2017

This week, Tamsen Webster finds the Red Thread in a TED talk by Brian Little: “Who Are You Really? The Puzzle of Personality.” The presence of the Red Thread is often the difference between a good talk and a great one.

Watch the video for yourself first, and see if you can pick out the first four elements: the goal, the problem, the idea, and the change. Little doesn’t get into step five, the action, but that’s because he’s so focused on laying out a compelling case for a big idea and a surprising path to change.

See if you can pick out the elements for yourself, and then you can compare how Tamsen breaks it down to learn how to make the Red Thread work for you.


Find more resources and see the full transcript of this episode at TamsenWebster.com.

Feb 27, 2017

A Real World Example

In this episode of Find the Red Thread, Tamsen takes a look at Arianna Huffington’s latest venture, Thrive Global, to show how the five pieces of the Red Thread apply to a real world example.

Looking at the four sentences on their About page, we see how the five steps of the Red Thread (the goal, the problem, the idea, the change, and the action) run through their statement and clearly outlines everything they do.

Getting in-depth with Thrive Global’s Investor Pitch Deck, Tamsen breaks down the principles of the Red Thread as they apply to a more specific pitch and business model.



Find more resources and see the full transcript of this episode at TamsenWebster.com.

Feb 21, 2017

Finding The Right Path

In this episode, Tamsen explains that the image of the Red Thread comes from a familiar story in Greek mythology that you may have heard of: the Minotaur and the Labyrinth.

From the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, we learn that fighting your battles isn’t necessarily the hard part, it’s really about finding the right path. The primary character in this story, Theseus, is sent into the maze to slay the Minotaur. Theseus snuck in two items to help him, a sword and a ball of red yarn. But, as Tamsen explains, it’s not his sword that ends up saving the day.

This story illustrates why the name Find the Red Thread describes exactly what the Red Thread does. The goal of the Red Thread is to help us figure out how to navigate the world around us, what monsters we slay, what swords we carry, and how we can follow the path we took to understand better ways to master change.


Find more resources and see the full transcript of this episode at TamsenWebster.com.

Feb 15, 2017

Making Meaning

What is the Red Thread? Whether we’re trying to create change, or simply feel in control of all the change that’s happening around us, the first step is that we must make meaning of what we see.

As humans, we have an innate desire to make things make sense. The meaning we create dictates the thoughts that we think, which dictates how we see the world and the role that we see ourselves playing in the world.

In this episode of Find the Red Thread, Tamsen shares the template for meaning making, how the path to meaningful change is like Mad Libs, and why learning to identify the way that we make meaning is the key to making changes that lead to big action.


  1. The Goal: The drive that determines everything else
  2. The Problem: Why we’re not achieving the goal
  3. The Idea: The diagnosis of the problem
  4. The Change: What we must do to achieve our goal
  5. The Action: The specific set of things that we need to do to make change happen


For more resources and a transcript of this episode, visit TamsenWebster.com.

Feb 7, 2017

Fred Rogers' Red Thread

The Red Thread comes from a Swedish expression that seeks to uncover the one thing that ties a life, an event, or a thing together—the through line.

In the inaugural episode of The Red Thread, Tamsen Webster reveals the truth that everyone has a red thread. We all have a way that we make meaning of ourselves, the world, and, perhaps most importantly, change.

Learn the deeper meaning of the “red thread” through a real life example of an important figure we all know and love: Fred Rogers. Yes, that’s THE Fred Rogers from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.


Get more resources and the full transcript of this episode at TamsenWebster.com.

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