Sometimes what you say is not what they hear. Have you ever wondered why someone completely misunderstood your message?
In this post, we want to help you understand the importance of choosing your words carefully.
When communicating, the most important thing is not your message but the way your audience receives it. By using specific words strategically, you can change your audience’s opinion and behaviour. You might have the best message in the world, but this means nothing if the meaning of your words is not understood as you intended.
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THREE TIPS TO DELIVER A CLEAR MESSAGE
Use Clarity to Create Impact
Use simple language to connect effectively with your listeners. Keep your sentences short and use words that your audience understands. This will make your message more powerful. Most people don’t have time for interpretation, which is why it’s hard to communicate complex ideas. This is why soundbites are so successful in politics and in the workplace…. For example, Barack Obama’s “Yes we can”
Create a powerful soundbite if you want your message to stick.
Empathise to Connect with your Audience
Bring your audience around to your way of thinking by working ‘audience-first’. Why are they here to listen to you and what do you have to give to them? Make your message relevant for who you are talking to, and give it a logical structure, you don’t want to lose your audience.
Make your Messages Memorable
Pick your words carefully to create a positive or negative reaction. Define a subject using language designed to create a powerful reaction.
Think about the impact of Barack Obama’s ‘Yes we can’, Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ or the Brexit referendum ‘Take back control’ promise. Think of iconic expressions such as ‘climate change’ which became ‘global warming’, or re-labelling of drilling for oil as ‘exploring for energy’. Paint a clear picture to help your listeners visualise what you’re saying and personalise it, so they connect with your message.
Even if your audience forgets what you told them, they won’t forget how you made them feel. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, harm, humiliate or humble. Small differences in words can change the feeling you experience. The following are some examples:
- How are you feeling today? “Not too bad” or “Fantastic”
- Is it nice? “Yes, it’s nice” or “It’s delicious”
- Will you do it? “I’ll try” or “Yes I will”
In conclusion, to make sure you communicate as effectively as possible, keep these three points in mind:
- Leave your audience feeling that they clearly understood your message.
- Make sure that your message leaves them feeling emotionally connected to your words.
- Be precise, be concise, be remembered.
By Brendan Condron
Post inspired by Dr Frank Luntz in his book ‘Words That Work: it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.’