Over the holidays, I received dozens of emails and cards from people and companies I don’t know, wishing me happiness, joy and success in 2019. Nice thoughts, sure, but I deleted or threw away every single one. These communications were meaningless because I knew that the same bland, generic message was probably going to a list of hundreds, and maybe thousands. As a shortcut to get attention, it didn’t work.
In this digital age, when with the push of button we can reach masses, we’ve lost sight of the most important aspect of communication – meaningfulness. Rather than trying for quantity, we should be thinking about quality. So in 2019 here are five things you can do to enhance the quality of your communication.
- Get clear on your purpose. Think carefully – not just about what you want from the communication, but why someone should bother listening to you. Are you giving your listener or reader valuable information? Are you trying to influence or persuade them to act in a way that serves their purpose – and not just yours.
- Communicate through the “Prism of Value™” vs. the “prism of me.” Regardless of our profession or our role in it, we are all selling. The best selling doesn’t occur by repeatedly forcing your message down someone’s throat. People listen when you tap into their deepest fears, biggest aspirations or fondest dreams. They respond when you offer something they value.
- Think Relevance. You may have a powerful message but if your target doesn’t think it’s important or significant, they will tune you out. That means you have to tune in to your intended audience. The more you understand what motivates them and what you can bring that’s of value to them, the more likely people will hear and respond to your message.
- Personalize the message. Email boxes, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook feeds are brimming with messages all asking us in some way to “look at me, notice me, pay attention to me.” Because we all are short on time, it’s tempting to send the “one-size-fits-all” email or to hit the “congratulations” message on LinkedIn, rather than sending your own message. Taking a few minutes to write a personal note or, dare I say, send a heartfelt card in the mail is much more effective. You will telegraph that you care enough to invest a few minutes in someone who is important to you.
- Segment and Cull Your Mailing List. The beginning of the year is a good time to review your mailings lists to clean out the old and ring in the new. Managing your customer and general mailing lists is like tending a garden. If you don’t clear the weeds, at best, you are wasting time and energy. At worst, you are annoying the very folks you want to engage. Review whether the people on your lists care about getting your information. (One way to find out is to ask them.) And while you are at it, group your lists so you can target specific information to different segments of your audience And make sure every message is tailored to the appropriate segment.
Talk is cheap. That phrase takes on even greater meaning now. Every day, we dump million of words into social platforms, podcasts and emails. We promise. We cajole. We boast. But we aren’t necessarily engaging. Taking the time to think about what we say and how we say it can let us break through and get our messages heard.
What are some ways you can amp up your communications in 2019 for greater impact?