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Relationship is the Message


Understanding “relationship” is critical to effective communication. We plan our actions in “relation” to others. In scripting, your relationship to a particular audience can be described in terms of the way you would normally relate to another person. In that regard, messages can be targeted effectively.

 

The good news is that there are only three basic relationships:

– Parental (parent-child)
– Fraternal (brother-sister)
– Marital (husband-wife)

You only use one of these types at anytime. If you know the relationship-type and you know your “role” within in that relationship, you can plan accordingly.

For example, if you are bringing “expertise” to the table, then the relationship between you (the expert) and the audience (novice) is parental. Within that parental relationship, typically, you are the parent and the audience is the child. As parent, you guide, advise, plan and encourage the child. Test your script to see places where any of those actions exist. It is at those points that you can add stories, examples and analogies to create impact in your message.

A fraternal relationship is based on rivalry, and you may have a message that is competitive in nature. Your audience may be “skeptical” of your argument, so may need to compromise or bend in some ways to get your audience to accept your position. Find places in the message where you can create dialog or discussion to see “another” point of view.

A marital relationship focuses on collaboration, where a win-win exists for both parties. Messages appealing to this relationship must be accepting of any suggestion as “equal” to your own suggestion. If you can’t meet this test of equality, or you believe your approach is significantly better, then you probably have the parent-child relationship and should adapt the message to that role, instead.

If you play the characteristics of your role in any relationship, you can usually create solid support for any message.

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