5.4.c Crafting Your Message
1. Think about your goal and objectives. What are the most important words and ideas that emerged?
2. Make your message really easy to remember. Does the library or information center have an ongoing message? Is there a new message? Can you reduce it to 10-15 words in your brain? “100% of our marketing staff use the information center as their first step toward advertising success.” “Our information specialists can provide management with just-released data for smart decision making.” “Use of the corporate library was up 50% in the last 12 months.” Most messages can be boiled down in just this way.
Don’t think only about what the message means to your special library (“Maintaining the hours that the Information Center is open will allow us to retain our full staff of information professionals.”). Think about what the message means for library users and others in your organization (“Maintaining the hours that the Information Center is open will ensure access to critical resources for everyone in the organization.”).
3. Come up with some “talking points.” This is where you can use library usage data you collect. Using the previous example (concerns about cutting library hours) your talking points should include:
- Some statistics about your special library or information center’s use (who, how, when, why, with what results?).
- The impact on users if information center hours are reduced or if your library goes away. Be specific, use your data. Click on a useful tool, Put Your Data to Work for Your A Team [5.4.c.1] for some ideas about using statistics to help convey your library’s message.
- Consider a personal story here.
- If your message is about a need, explain what your staff of information professionals would like to see happen and what the listener can do to help.
4. Have a “parking lot” or “grocery store” speech ready. This is a very short statement that can literally be communicated during the brief time you’re walking to the parking lot in the company of a library user, colleague, or when you bump into a coworker in the grocery store. When appropriate, invite the listener to get involved.
Here’s an example:
“Have you heard that the Information Center wants to launch a “My Very Own Information Expert” service that will send staff personal daily messages about resources and data that are relevant to their project areas? If you think this is a good idea, please talk it up to your division supervisor.”
Click on Your Parking Lot Speech [5.4.c.2] if you would like help with this.