Most business messaging fails because it speaks to what we do not why it matters to our audience. Break out of the list maker syndrome that ticks off all the products and services you offer. Instead, make your case by talking about great things that can and will happen with and through you. Get people excited about the big things so that they understand why all the smaller things you do every day are so important—and how they fit into making things better for the people you need and want to reach most.
There is an old saying that the shoemaker’s children are often the last to get shoes. The same thing holds true for communications professionals. We are so busy helping our clients and bosses reveal and reinforce their value that we often neglect the same efforts for ourselves.
The New Year is a time of recharging and starting over. For me, it’s a time for the annual purge of the files. I’m a pack-rat who never met a piece of paper I didn’t want to keep. Every year, I vow not to do this, but somehow I end up with home-office files stuffed with cable company bills, medical insurance explanations of benefits, and tons of articles I find on the internet to read later.
Information about our organizations and our employees flows freely across the Internet in ways we don't expect. A medium-sized start-up doing business globally – let’s call them New Company – wanted to promote new hire, Susan, someone they had snagged from Big Competitor.
Posted on “The Rock” in Ellicott City, a picturesque and popular historic village in Maryland, the sign reads: “Climbing prohibited on these 300 million-years-old geological formations; let’s all respect The Rock.”
Good leaders have vision. Great leaders have vision and the masterful the ability to communicate it, thus captivating others to embrace and support it. Nowhere was the intersection of leadership and communications more evident than in the remarks by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama when he spoke at the Anwar Sadat Lecture for Peace at the University of Maryland.
In the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde, when protagonist Clyde Barrow says, “We rob banks,” it’s more than just Warren Beatty’s braggadocio that stands out. It’s the simply clarity and outrageous truth of that brief declarative sentence. When it comes to message development, most people think they know what their message is. They’ve undoubtedly said or written it many times.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, pollster and messaging guru Frank Luntz offered the following counsel to Republicans: Re-frame the questions being asked about America’s future because, as he put it, “whoever controls the questions determines the answer.” Smart advice.
With just a few words, prominent geologist and Interim President of CUNY College of Staten Island William Fritz vividly summed up why Hurricane Sandy hit the island borough in the middle of New York Harbor so hard: “We’ve hardscaped our sponge.”