Message Houses are not only for businesses or non-profits. They’re also useful in personal and private situations.
Let’s assume you want your boss to give you a pay raise (the “action”). The Message House Method can help come up with messaging for making that ask.
First, let’s think about the [tooltip tip=”The Big Picture Message conveys why something matters in the larger scheme of things.”]Big Picture Message[/tooltip]. What’s getting a raise all about? What can you say that involves a larger notion and resonate emotionally? Do you deserve more recognition? More fairness? A better life?
Consider, as with all your messages, the audience’s point of view. In this case the audience is your boss. He or she worries about the organization’s, and his or her own success. So how about expressing that you want your department / organization / company to be the best it can possibly be? Be sincere.
Next, the [tooltip tip=”The Utility Message conveys what is useful.”]Utility Message[/tooltip]. What can you say that, in the eyes of your boss, would make it seem useful to give you a raise? “I won’t quit”? “I will work harder”? “My husband has lost his job, we need the money”? “The cost of living has gone up”?
Again, put yourself in your boss’s shoes. You don’t want to sound as if attempting blackmail (“Give me a raise or…”). You don’t want to sound whiny. You don’t want to make it all about yourself.
Remember, your boss cares about his or her own success, which is influenced by your performance, and your department’s and your organization’s. So try to think of a recent instance in which you walked the proverbial extra mile. Tell that story: “Remember back two weeks ago, when the Web went down on a Saturday. I came into the office at 11PM that night, and…” Then say something like: “A raise will motivate me to keep walking those extra miles for us.”
Now the [tooltip tip=”The Critics Message disarms the most likely concern.”]Critics Message[/tooltip]: It serves to disarm the most likely criticism. Often bosses don’t like to give a raise because the Human Resources department, or their superior, require them to make a very solid case for the increase. So make it easier for your boss. Say something like: “I know you’ll need to make a case for it. How about I draft a memo, from me to you, in which I explain why giving me a raise is good for the company?”
Last the [tooltip tip=”The Action Message tells your audience what to do.”]Action Message[/tooltip]. Should it be something like: “I’d really appreciate your giving me a raise”? Maybe lower the barrier a bit, to make it easier for your boss to agree to taking a next step. Say: “I’d really appreciate your letting me draft that memo to make a case for a pay raise.”
As always, remember: You may not want to use these exact messages. Create messaging that’s tailored to your situation. Don’t necessarily use your messages verbatim all the time. Weave them into your conversation and feel free to modify them as feels natural. Know your messages well. Treat them like your very own magic spells. That’s where the house imagery of the Message House template can help you mentally. Thinking of your messages as a kind of place that’s like your home will make it easier to stick to them, to “stay inside your Message House.” Download it, and insert your messages into the placeholders. Then put a copy of your Message House up on a wall. Keep another one in the drawer next to your bed. And another one in your back pocket. Tell yourself: “Stay inside your Message House and you will succeed ” (well, technically, you’ll optimize your chances to succeed, since there is never a 100% guarantee). For more advice on using your messaging, check out the Message House FAQ, the How To page, and download the free Message House Word Template.