David Murray is an experienced journalist and something of an authority on speechwriting. He recently posted his puzzlement about a new phrase he’s been hearing: "Message drivers".
It was new to me too, but as I commented on his post, perhaps these are the messages that underlie the message that you actually deliver. If I’m right then I’ve been teaching this for years except I haven’t had a simple way to differentiate them.
In my parlance, you think of a message and then you spin it to the needs of the audience. So messages occur at two levels: the one that drives you and the one that results from the audience-focused spin.
An example might be:
Message driver: "Communicate effectively"
Actual messages could be: "Handle the press effectively" or "Get the board to hear you out"
Even if I’ve misunderstood the ‘message driver’ phrase, I think I might steal it.