This week, we are delighted to welcome Michael Green from Luna 9 to guest post on our blog!

In his post, Michael discusses “The Second Conversion”, unearthing what exactly it is and why it matters. So, if you’re an agency and your first point of engagement doesn’t go to plan, you’ll be pleased to know that not all is lost. In fact, with a few corrective actions, you’ll be surprised how effectively you can find a way to reconnect and succeed the second time round!

The second conversation: what is it and why does it matter?

Whether you’re pitching to a potential client, sharing a big idea or encouraging change within a large organisation, you need to give your message the best chance possible of making a lasting impact.

So, when that impact doesn’t happen, what’s at fault? More often than not it’s down to what we call the second conversation.

The first conversation is your initial contact – a presentation, pitch, or meeting. The second conversation is what happens next – when your audience shares what you’ve told them with others. The problem is that if they don’t have the same understanding and context that made your delivery so effective first time around, the message can become diluted or confused.

What should be a ripple effect instead becomes a bottleneck as the initial impact doesn’t spread. To carry your communication through the second conversation and beyond, we need to look past making a great first impression and think about how to empower audiences to take up the message themselves.

How to harness the engagement

Presentations soar on the energy and charisma of their speaker, but keeping that momentum going outside of the room is a major challenge.

We worked with a client recently whose founder was a natural at engaging a room, but there was a huge disconnect between his turn of phrase and the corporate tone of their external communication.

To bridge that gap, we brought the organisation’s visual and written communications more in line with the founder’s passionate and straightforward delivery. We also created interactive leave-behind tools so that his audience could recapture the journey of the original conversation.

Offering tools to make things crystal clear

Not only can the right leave-behind help to extend the speaker’s dynamism, it can also keep the details from getting lost in translation.

For example, if you were pitching ten reasons to support a new sustainability initiative, it would be a huge surprise if everyone listening remembered all ten points. Materials like visual one-pagers and simple infographics help ensure your words don’t get passed along as ineffective fragments.

When you’re presenting, we all know the advice is to keep a light touch on the information, to keep audiences focussed on you and your message and not a distracting wall of text over your shoulder. However, that presents a problem if you offer those slides as your sole communication tool.

Asking your audience to remember how you embellished the bones of the slides is like asking them to follow a cake recipe with no measurements. To gain true advocates, you need to supply your audience with all the tools they need to share your message with context and clarity.

There are lots of creative ways to do this, but the key is always understanding the specific problem the audience has in sharing your message to effectively reduce the friction.

Thinking beyond the room

Ask yourself what you want people to do next. Are you hoping they take your message and advocate it to others? Do you need them to share your ideas with the person holding the purse strings in their organisation? Will the outcome of that second conversation depend more on a convincing case study, a clear explanation of a complex concept, or some hard numbers?

As always, the key is thinking about what your audience needs, and that means remembering your audience isn’t just the person in front of you – it’s also the person they’ll turn to next.

Don’t leave the second conversation up to fate. Give your audience the tools they need to understand your message and communicate it on your terms. If you consider this part of strategic design early, your message will go further and hit home harder.

If you’re looking to transform your audience into advocates, let’s chat! Drop us a line at info@luna9design.com

Michael Green, Founder & CEO of Luna 9
Michael is the co-founder of Luna 9 – a visual communication agency based in Bristol. They create complexity-busting infographics, interactive explainers and digital tools to help audiences understand the things that matter. Along their way, they’ve formed long-standing partnerships with the likes of NHS England, Dyson, and the World Health Organization.

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