“Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” – Rene Magritte

As a purveyor of insight and guidance, your challenge is to cut through all the noise and say what has not been said. Buyers seek surprises, the provocative angle, the story that hasn’t been told. It gets their attention and deepens a sense of anticipation.

The challenge here is to reframe the conventional picture with an unconventional perspective. You want to create compelling conversations — opening the door to new paths of exploration and progress.

Seeing the UnseenOf course, it’s not easy to say something different and relevant. It requires an act of creation. It requires research and analysis, discussion and imagination.

This is the art of message making. It’s the art of living in a story. What’s different in this case is that the story revolves around your buyer. And it begins with empathy.

To generate insights that will enrich your perspective, you’ll need to “spend time with the people who are going to use your product and watch them do whatever it is they do,” writes Jon Kolko in his terrific new book Well Designed. “Your goal is both to understand them and empathize with them. You can accomplish this by absorbing and interpreting signals, but unlike market signals that are broad and shared, these signals are local, discrete, and specific.”

As the advocates of design thinking like Kolko will tell you, empathy is the first step in a creative process that leads to great product design. It also could lead to great conversation design.

You empathize in order to see what your audience can’t see about themselves. After all, they don’t have eyes in the backs or sides of their heads. Their field of vision is limited. They can’t see, for instance, all the things  their peers are doing in relation to the problems you are addressing. They certainly can’t see it in the way you can see it. Your perspective is different — and valuable — in that sense.

By articulating and making sense of what you see, you create value. You tell the story behind the story. More importantly, you bring that story to life and enable your prospects to see themselves as the hero.  You help them see the unseen — and accomplish what was previously unimagined.