We see headlines every day, many times a day. Even minute by minute – just look at your phone. Headlines grab our attention, and often the headline is the only part of the content that we even read. Headlines matter. And yes, the subject line in every email you send is a headline. Our headline for Slingshot Group is: “We Build Remarkable Teams!” There is a lot of substance and years of experience behind that claim, but it’s true. We do that very thing.
As I was researching on the topic of headlines, I discovered a very helpful article by Kayla Stevens from the Mabbly Agency. She describes the importance of headlines, saying:
A powerful Headline can be the difference between whether your content gets read or not. A Headline can be just as important, if not more important than the body of the article, itself.
Stevens goes on to write, “An interesting picture may draw you in, but it’s the Headline that makes you want to read more. A catchy Headline is the best chance you have at getting people to read your blog. The Headline frames the rest of the experience. It can tell you what kind of article you’re about to read and starts the reader’s motor running. Headlines are attention-getters. They serve as valuable guides and pave the way for the story and for what’s coming next.”
At Slingshot, I have the privilege of coaching people in many different lanes of work and ministry. Some are facing problems, some have plateaued, and some are pioneers who want to run to new experiences. But every coaching experience is unique. It’s like getting little kids to sing or dance – once they get comfortable, the music never stops. The very first step in coaching is the art of gaining trust.
One of the books I am digesting is The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. He says, “People don’t really learn when you tell them something. They don’t even really learn when they do something. They start learning only when they have a chance to recall and reflect on what just happened.”
I was in a such a session recently. The young man I was coaching had recently changed his ministry emphasis in the church he was serving. There were aspects of his new role that were going to be a great challenge, and he was not at all excited about it. This is unlike him. He is one motivated, energized, smart young man and has a long history of being very successful in anything he has attempted. But for some reason, his energy was now lacking. We talked about some options that he might try and he was very open to some innovative approaches, but this coaching moment was still awkward and needed a new thought or a breakthrough. I dug deep to come up with something.
So after a long, silent pause, I said with some humph, “What is the News Flash Headline of your life today? Imagine that CNN has just given a ‘News Flash’ and your name is in the headline. What did the News Flash say about you?”
I gave him a hint. I said, “Here is what your headline reads: Young Pastor Stops Being Curious.” It jolted him, and the conversation turned to a collaborative, playful, creative moment.
His new role is a largely a marketing role. I told him, “You are simply not talking to the right people. You need to talk to people who are at the top of their game.” I gave him some names to contact. The next afternoon I received a text from him that read, “News Flash! – Young Pastor Contacts Guru Marketing Guys!”
Give it a try. Write your News Flash Headline. It might read, “Young Father Leaves Work Early To Take His Little Girl For Ice Cream,” or “A Simple Cup Of Coffee Gave A New Employee A Great Start.” These headlines, though very simple, carry amazing stories beneath the headline itself. And to track these over time will bring you new ideas and new ways to think about things.
I have used the News Flash Headline tool many times since. I find it to be a very fun way to communicate with coaching clients, and it can work great with your staff as well. Try it for a week or so, then look back. You just might see patterns form from which to learn wonderful, new things!