The purpose of communications is to convey meaning from one life form to another.Need to warn another caveperson that a big honkin’ Velociraptor is coming up FAST and ready to chow down? That’s a great time for extremely DIRECT communication like “DUDE…RUN!!!” The first communicators really got it done.
But somewhere in the mystical magical world of getting more “evolved” and “older” we just start spouting out stuff that we COMPLETELY understand, but the audience has no idea what we’re saying. Tech companies are REALLY guilty of this and it comes from just knowing your stuff SO well that you assume EVERYONE knows it too. Well, remember what Samuel L. Jackson said about making an assumption? (You’re making an ass out of “u” and “mption.”)
And I’ve found that professional communicators can be the worst communicators of all when it comes to this. Oh, we find super smart and clever ways to make all the words start with the same letter, rhyme and just SOUND really good but often, an audience says to themselves — Uh…what? Chomp. Too late, kid.
What’s missing is that little thing I like to call audience empathy. It’s actually just putting YOURSELF in THEIR place and now reading it and saying “I wonder if they’re gonna get it?” If the purpose of communication is to convey meaning between life forms then taking a second to determine whether they are going to make sense of it seems logical to me.
And YET…how many things do you see and read daily and they just become NOISE because there is ZERO meaning?
We’re all communicators and need to make our point. Make sure that your personal and corporate communications do not sound like someone in the marketing department created them. Be clear, not clever. Be factual, not fluffy and above all be ABOUT THEM, not about YOU. I see it every day and I just know we can do better if we think about it and just try.
And what THAT means is — think before you send it and make sure the MEANING is there first and foremost. You understand, right?