Communications Corner: The Problem with Problem Statements
As NPH focuses on solutions-based messaging, we feel this article, “The Problem with Problem Statements,” by Thaler Pekar of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, helps articulate our messaging strategy. Please read our favorite excerpts below and click here for the full article.
“Forgoing the articulation of a problem statement and focusing on paradox leads to more effective communication with your organization’s supporters. When crafting persuasive messages, we’re often instructed to clearly state the problem we are addressing. But there are problems with the communication of problem statements. Problems are often multi-layered, and what concerns your audience about the problem may lie outside of your message about the problem. Also, exposing your listener to a problem—especially if that problem represents a new and strange idea—risks shutting down communication and igniting rejection. Emotions elicited by stating problems are jarringly different than emotions elicited by presenting solutions. You risk pushing your audience away, rather than pulling them toward meaningful engagement.“