Sushi is the perfect food. Simple, direct and no frills. Sushi is colorful and carefully constructed. Unlike other cuisines, sushi is light without heavy sauces. For those of us who spend our days in pursuit of the best in strategic communications, sushi offers us some powerful lessons.
Strategic Communications and Sushi?
1) Get the Best Ingredients
For sushi, it’s got to be fresh and the fish has to be top grade. If not, it’s a disaster. Whether we are communicating in writing or through speech, we should be using the best ingredients–our ideas, our positions, and the facts to support them. Take the time to think through what you want to say and research the supporting materials. That means committing your ideas to paper first and wrestling with them to make sure they are clear, relevant to the target audience and on point.
Sushi is a balance between protein and carbs. Effective communications balances the engaging, broad sweeping concepts with the statistical and hard data to support them. Too much of either one is unsatisfying.
3) Artful appearance.
Part of the joy of good sushi is its almost sculptural appearance and the bright hues of the fish and the vegetables on the plate. Sure those ingredients are critical but it if doesn’t look appetizing, people won’t eat it. In the same way, substance is vital in communications but if it doesn’t look good, people won’t pay attention. Years ago, an architect I was working with me told me he didn’t like something I’d written because he didn’t like the cover. Never mind that it was a draft. It was a good lesson. The fact that he didn’t like the cover meant that he wouldn’t read any further and I’d lost him. Make sure the communications–written or oral–that you are dishing out are appealing to the eye–with a font that is big enough and easy to read, use a clean layout, and are free from spelling and grammatical errors. If you are speaking in front of a group, make sure your slides have a balance of graphic images and text and that your own appearance is crisp.
4. Enjoy it.
Eating food you like should be pleasurable. If you are doing your job as a communicator, people savor your ideas and thoughts.