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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  October 27, 2016

How to Help People Solve Their Own Problems

How to Help People Solve Their Own Problems

I’ve posted a lot about how to use your content to help people solve their own problems. A recent Fast Company article on excuses—What You Can Learn from the Excuses You Tell Yourself—a great example of self-diagnosis.

Let’s break down what the author did so we can apply her brilliance. The three-step structure we can use:

1. Acknowledge the universality. Making it OK sets the tone to go beyond blame and into problem-solving mode. This prevents the “hey, I really don’t do that” defense from taking root.

2. Identify the red flags. Points of comparison lets folks know when they are in trouble. This creates urgency to act.


Related: How to Make Your Ideas Stand Out


3. Give ideas on next steps. Notice that the article’s solutions are not too specific. That’s OK—the readers have plenty of room to adapt. This increases engagement and more comments.

When we help readers uncover and understand their own problems, we help them own the challenge. We also motivate them to act. And isn’t that the point of helping in the first place?


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.