The power of simple messages

Every morning before we go our separate ways to work and before we go to sleep, my wife and I tell each other “I love you.” Because she drives to work, I usually include a “Be careful,” too.

Billions of people around the world use these same sentences daily to get a point across, to maintain or deepen a relationship, or to separate themselves from others in the receiver’s life. This is the point of messaging, right?

Well, then why do we make it easy in our personal lives and so complicated professionally?  Messages are meant to be short, to the point and memorable.  Again, we say “I love you.”  We don’t say “I have strong feelings for you that have grown over time that I wish to convey at this moment.”

We say “Be careful.”  We don’t say “When you drive the car to your intended destination, properly assess all known risks and plan accordingly for the unknown risks you may encounter along the way.”

Successful messaging cuts through the noise, is devoid of most jargon and doesn’t require inhaling half way through speaking it.  It’s not about communicating every single thing you know about a topic.  It’s not about showing how smart you are.  It IS about your audience.  And it IS about what you want them to know and remember.  Long winded, wordy messages do not accomplish this.

So, the next time you’re working on messaging, be it for a media interview, branding effort, web site or whatever, think about how you communicate to your family, friends and loved ones.  Just because you’re communicating from within or for an organization doesn’t mean it needs to sound like it.

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