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You probably know what you want to say; most organizations do. But, do you know what your audiences want to hear? Many leaders assume that they do, based on their years of experience and the voices of people around them. Often, they are mistaken.

The phrase “change is constant” was a cliche before the arrival of our global pandemic, but yikes! It’s an understatement now. You may think you know what’s in the hearts and heads of the people most important to your success. But, how old is that data? Plus, wouldn’t you rather know than just guess?

Strong messaging balances what you need to say with what people need to hear—and what they need to feel.

Strong messaging balances what you need to say with what people need to hear—and what they need to feel. Missing both those marks is one of the most common reasons why messaging often falls flat. A messaging framework identifies those needs and creates a repeatable way to communicate, consistently and compellingly. Here’s how you can ensure that your messaging hits the mark by knowing what your audiences want to hear and feel:

When Should You Take a Stand?

That’s always been an important question, but in 2021 it has even more urgency and potency. Here are four criteria to help you decide if your organization should take a stand on important issues dominating public discourse.

  • Is the topic relevant to what you do?
  • Will it bolster or hinder your work?
  • Do you have the moral authority to say something?
  • What does not saying anything say?

Recent Podcast Episodes

Our podcast, Messaging on a Mission, launched last month and it’s off to a great start! Episode 1 features the dynamic leader of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Grace Moreno. Episode 2 is also available now:

Get notified when new episodes drop.

Resilient Coders

In this recurring feature of Focal Point, we profile people and organizations on a mission! If you have someone to suggest, let us know!

Resilient Coders is a highly competitive, free, and stipended nonprofit coding boot camp, training people of color from low-income communities for careers as software engineers.

Participants spend 20 weeks in the program, learning object-oriented programming principles through the vehicle of full-stack javascript; that’s vanilla JS, React, Express, Node, and some relational database work.

They go on to work as software engineers for companies as big as Wayfair, Constant Contact, Humana, Audible, and Athenahealth, and as small as early-stage tech startups. Almost everyone finds full-time work within about six weeks of graduation, with most folx seeing their first offers before graduating.

Pride In Our Workplace

Focal Pointing

Focal Pointing shares some of the books, podcasts, and emails that are helping us learn, create, and grow. It’s February, so that means that this issue’s Focal Pointing hones in on resources for Black History Month!

Facing History and Ourselves

Black Past

Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids

For a look at history in the making, check out this new video series. Merchant services aggregator Square has launched a series of videos on Black-owned businesses. Black Owned explores the history, experience, and voice of the Black entrepreneurial spirit and its essential contribution to the American economy.

Well Said

"Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people - the beauty within themselves."

—Langston Hughes

Born this month in 1901, James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

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