Use This Structure To Back Up What You Say
Having an opinion is easy, it’s how you back it up that matters where you bring the proof to the table.
Let’s look at a framework that breaks down how you can present to your audience where the goal is to be believable, factual and to put your own unique stamp on how you look at the world and the role you play.
A fact, experience, opinion model can help break your content down into three separate blocks that can provide you with a structure to your narrative.
For the record, you don’t have to know or comment on everything. You bring in what matters to the space you are championing and choose what matters to you.
The Biggest Hurdle
What becomes difficult is that your world is surrounded by other people’s opinions.
The opinions are centred on what someone else says, to prove they are right, rather than showing the facts or lived experiences. What happens is that lines get blurry. In the words of humorist, Arnold H. Glasow, “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.”
Anyone can give an opinion, but standing out is where you can share something unique to you. This is what helps you carve your own space.
Here is how it can work with the Fact, Experience, Opinion framework of your creation efforts.
The problem with an opinion is that everyone has one.
The problem with every social network is that everyone else is on it. This is where it becomes difficult, but we all need a starting point.
When it comes to building your voice, the factual side is what reaffirms a point and is grounded in reality. You cannot move from it and is set in stone. If all you deliver is an opinion, you are walking a tightrope. If you base your content on facts you have a safety net.
In a YATM article on you are what you say and share, I highlighted that as your audience and influence grows, the more obligation you have to others. When it comes to having a responsibility to your audience, if what you publish has a sign of contention, check what is said and look at the data to what you share.
Bringing an experience that is relevant to you, is where the gold sits. A fact is used to illustrate a point and is then brought to life via your own insights to validate.
The embraced experiences are what define you. Whether good or bad, they provide learning and stories to tell. Over the years, it has been my experiences that have shaped me and having the confidence to share has, in fact, become my differentiator. From failure to delivering something for the first time, to figuring out ideas in plain view, these giant experiments I undertake, in plain sight of everyone help me document and share.
If you can present (audio, verbal, written) in a genuine way and be able to present the evidence and stick by your convictions, this is what helps you connect better and be believable.
The experiences you encounter help you share better stories. Everywhere you look, there is a surplus of expertise, perhaps you need to answer the unanswered where we have to jump in feet first and see with your own eyes, to then report back?
If you begin with the fact and experience approach, it then makes it easier for you to deliver your opinion and take on the world.
It’s your opinions that are formed from your actions. What you create becomes specific to you and how a distinct voice is created. A fact is used to illustrate a point and is then brought to life via your experience to get a point across.
It gives you the freedom to bring in what you have learned and then share your perspective based on what you have seen with your own eyes. This is what validates everything.
Let Me Share Some Examples
In the new You Are The Media Creator Lab with Bournemouth & Poole College, the students are working on this framework as they find their narrative.
From a list of topics, each Lab student committed to an article and share their own perspective. This is an exercise is finding a voice and looking to say something that looks to define their character.
Let me share with you an example of ‘Do you look at moving from education to the world of work with a sense of fear?’
FACT – There are expected to be 36.4 million graduates in the UK by 2022. It is going to be very competitive out there when it comes to work.
EXPERIENCE – Whilst the students don’t have years behind their belt, what they do have is an understanding of a chosen study area as well as their own work experience and the importance of communication and teamwork.
OPINION – In a very competitive marketplace, to stand out can take time, but the personalities we build, the willingness to be a part of something and a determined attitude is what can make employers take notice.
From my own perspective
FACT – research by the Policy Institute and Ipsos UK finds that 3 in 10 UK adults say they are feeling lonelier now than before the pandemic (March 2022)
EXPERIENCE – The first YATM live in-person event back was in July 2021 and we have found several ways to make this hybrid world work ie. learning online and offline.
OPINION – when you feel a part of something, it helps you feel connected to others. This is why an in-person side for You Are The Media is important. Bringing people together is so important, it’s what helps fuel ideas, continue conversations and have a sense of kinship and camaraderie.
Here’s another example:
FACT – You Are The Media started in October 2013 from zero and now approaching nine years
EXPERIENCE – to make something work you have to stick at something and embrace this sense of living in a live lab to document with everyone and recognise that not everything is going to work
OPINION – the longer you are invested in something, over time, the more fun you get back. Read this article on the longer you stay.
The most powerful feedback to deliver to others is from the facts that can’t be altered and your own experiences. The more that you commit to something you believe in, the stronger your identity becomes within your marketplace.
It takes time, thought and resources but when you deliver from a trusted place and that is what others buy into that is when they make a choice that you are the right person for them.
It is important to draw on what’s around you and show the proof. Adding a personal touch where you share from a place that is true but brings in your own adventures helps to cement a connection between you and someone else.