You are a message strategy pro, but you don’t know it

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Diane Evans (left, Sue's mother) and Sue (right)

When you inform the waiter that you would like the Cobb salad with the ranch dressing on the side, minus the croutons, you are a message pro. You know what you want. And you know who needs to hear it.

Consider your mother. Mothers broadcast and signpost that a message is coming so you won’t miss it when it hits you.

Mothers are especially savvy because they are committed to achieving the result they want when they want it. These are some of my favorites:

  • “I’ll tell you one thing, the homework gets done or you’re not going.”
  • “Please don’t make me worry. Wear your seatbelt and be back by 10.”
  • “Let me tell you something: Don’t fight with your brother. He loves you.”


When we know what we want, we cut to the chase to achieve the outcome we want. Our messages are naturally short, snappy and sharp.

Effective message strategy identifies the target audience and the goal. This process ensures we choose the words that resonate. That’s why mothers have real power.

 Let’s breakdown a simple mom message for strategy.

“I’ll tell you one thing, the homework gets done or you’re not going.”

“I’ll tell you one thing” is the signpost of the message that alerts the target audience – the kid – that an important message is coming.

“The homework gets done” is the objective of the message.

“Or you’re not going” conveys the urgency and impact of the message.

In the fancy world of public relations, you would hire a consultant to focus group and test the effectiveness of this message. But moms don’t have to test their messages. These messages have been tested over generations of focus groups called grandparents. We inherit them and launch them because we know they work.

The next time your mother calls you, take the call and listen. She’s a message strategy pro who’s already on your side.

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