A common refrain from bosses, coaches, parents, and others who need to communicate is “Why don’t they listen?”
We’ve all been there. We think we’ve explained the details to whomever we need to reach: Employees, players, sons and daughters, peers. Yet the message doesn’t seem to have been received.
Probably a whole host of reasons. But typically the problem revolves around one or more of these three key messaging miscues:
- Did you clearly define your target audience? If you’re a parent, you might be scratching your head and thinking what’s crazy Dave talking about? Regardless of whether it’s a small audience that you think you know or a bunch of market segments that a company needs to reach, you need to be clear about who you want to reach and what their perspective is. How are they seeing the situation? What’s driving their behaviors? What do they want? What are they feeling?
- Then you have to “Make it about Them.” Tie it back to a message that resonates with them. Tell stories that show you understand them and what they’re all about – what they’re looking for. Show them you care about them and you’re not just in it for yourself. This is a tough one many times. We’re all guilty of being so focused on what we think the problem is that we don’t communicate what’s in it for them, and we don’t make it about them. This leads to defensiveness, tuning out or misperceptions.
- Make it Memorable. How? By creating stories tied to something that they’re interested in and that is current. For instance, in February, it’s a good idea to tie your story to the Super Bowl — commercials, the game, the coaches, the halftime show, whatever. Create your memorable message around something that matters to your audience and that goes beyond your specific issue. This makes it about them, it makes it memorable and shows that you’re working hard to convey a message.
Take the time to define and understand your target audience, to make it about them and make it memorable.