Keep Communications Human in a World of Partial Attention. It Starts with Connecting.
What does it mean to “Keep it Human” in the way you communicate? Great leaders and brands don’t communicate; they connect. They make it look easy and, in a world, of too much noise competing for partial, fragmented attention, great communicators cut through the noise.
How can you be a more human, powerful and effective communicator? What are the things that all great communicators and brands do?
Have a clear purpose.
Elevate above the details and communicate the big a-ha! Great communicators give a vision. What could be better in the world? For brands – how are ‘we’ making the world better? Here’s what happens to most of us w:e get caught in the details. Great communicators elevate by starting with the most important part of communicating: they give a sense of purpose.
How do you elevate to a higher level? Think ‘human headline.’ Give the human headline first. What’s the big idea? Brands and companies with a clear purpose and that communicate it constantly win in the marketplace.
Have a simple focus.
What’s the one key thing people absolutely need to know about your business? Leave your audience with one key takeaway rather than overload.
When you are speaking or writing, focus on one big idea that is portable and shareable. Contagious ideas are big, simple, and easy to share. Keep it simple and shareable. That’s how you grab attention and generate word-of-mouth.
Keep it conversational.
Always use the language that your audience uses. Don’t burden them with your language. I was in a conversation the other day and a woman was upset because people were telling her that her choice of words might be the wrong framing for her audience. Look – you’re not going to lose brand integrity because you used a simpler word like “lavish” instead of ostentatious. Use the language of your prospect/customer; mirror their language back to them. Write and speak in conversational tones.
Have a sense of humor.
Show a sense of humor. Humor is human, and it shows that we are all connected. When Richard Branson (and Virgin) is a master at this, and the world’s best brands are human. I make you smile or laugh, you drop your guard and we’ve connected. I’ve established a channel, and now you are more likely to listen to what I have to say. I have just done an end-run around the logic filter! It’s like Frogger out there! You don’t have to tell jokes to show humor.
How do you do this? Show a lighter side. Show some wit, tell a story, have a sense of levity. Jokes are only one way (not the only way) to demonstrate humor.
Great communicators tell stories – it’s a a master leadership skill. Great communicators and brands understand the emotional pull of a story in a world of information overload. Stories provide context – why should I care? Statistics are great – yet, they don’t put a human face on an issue like stories about real people do. Cold facts don’t inspire; stories do.
End Part I. Read Part II.
Listen to the podcast from August 22nd on the topic. It will increase your HCQ – your ‘human communications’ quotient. After all, 92.3% of all audiences are, in fact, human!
Great advise Kathy. I especially love the use the language your customers use, all too often I see people using what I call show-off language aimed at impressing their clients when all it does is alienate them.
Exactly. And I think people who do that end up impressing no one!
You have your own radio show? LOVE IT!
I was trying to find a particular point that drove home for me, but I just can’t separate all the points you’ve made. They’re all so great and important and tie in together seamlessly.
I think the overall thing people need to remember is to keep it human. To realise that everyone they’re talking to is human, not aliens or robots or zombies. Humans, just like them.
I do. And the podcast show is a blast. I love doing it! Amen to the points you made, Phillipa. Business is, and always will be, about people! When we can be empathetic and communicate that way, we’ll connect at a visceral level with our audience. And that’s where the relationship starts.