Communicate with Impact: 10 Core Elements of Effective Messaging
This article originally appeared in Forbes.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” If only that were true in business. Carefully-designed “covers“ are essential to enticing potential buyers to commit to purchasing products and services.
Covers in business are not just on books. They include everything that acts as an impression — websites, social media, newsletters, presentation and marketing materials, e-mails, business cards, networking, and sales conversations. Poorly-presented covers cripple and destroy businesses every day.
The most effective stories communicate through a powerful combination of visual, verbal, literal, and visceral content that articulates a focused and compelling multi-sensory message. How one appears conveys just as much as what one says.
Below are ten fundamental dos and don’ts of equal importance that will empower you to communicate with impact.
1) Be aware of your audience.
Successful storytelling relies on resonating with target audiences. Make sure you know exactly who they are and what makes them tick. Have a customized approach to each audience — individual or group — that speaks directly to them, not at them.
Don’t speak to everyone in the exact same way.
2) Be relevant.
Respect your audience by preemptively answering pertinent questions and telling your specific story.
Don’t be generic, superficial, or waste people’s time.
3) Be focused.
Time is valuable and attention spans are short. Prioritize your primary intention. Edit your message and break text apart into intuitive, easily-digestible pieces. Design with a hierarchy that adds contrast and layers your content.
Don’t ramble or present your copy as giant blocks of text.
4) Be compelling.
Make a meaningful connection that attracts your ideal audience. Provide an intriguing entry point that will entice them to want to learn more.
Don’t be boring or chase the wrong audience.
5) Be distinctive.
Stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
Don’t look, sound, feel or present yourself like everyone else.
6) Be authentic.
Honesty is the best policy, and is the key to positive and profitable relationships. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Inject your personality and point of view in order to resonate and be relatable.
Don’t appear disingenuous or pretend to be something you are not. That breaks trust, which is the foundation of all relationships.
7) Be consistent.
Continually prove your value while being true to your core values. Create and maintain a relationship with your audience that is built on trust and reliability.
Don’t present yourself in a way that is out of alignment with your values, products, and services.
8) Be visual.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” That phrase gained ubiquity for a reason. Be thoughtful with your design choices, presenting imagery, colors, fonts, style, and wardrobe to enhance your message. Integrate your visual and verbal content into a singular voice to both show and tell your story.
Don’t rely exclusively on text or be haphazard with your presentation.
9) Be both literal and visceral.
To reach the full spectrum of left-brain and right-brain interpretations, share knowledge with emotional resonance by combining facts and figures with personal stories and conceptual metaphors.
Don’t dominate your communications with dry statistics or shiny objects.
10) Be open to other influences.
Show content to others, request honest feedback and consider all comments. Confirm that what you intend to say is being heard.
Don’t create in an isolated bubble.
Quality presentation implies quality products and services and justifies high-quality rates. Don’t underestimate the catastrophic damage that sloppy presentation can inflict on your business.
Carrie Osgood provides effective visual and verbal solutions to complex communication challenges across all media. Called an essential “communications GPS” for her vast vocabulary and eclectic expertise, she empowers her clients to project their best selves through all they show and say, capturing their core essence and making them shine. Visit CLO-Communications.com to learn more.
Originally published at www.forbes.com on July 10, 2018.