“Do as I say, not as I do”. With my children I’m mindful to limit TV in the house, eat my veggies, read often, and demonstrate the enjoyment found in exercise. But after having my 2-year-old raise his voice to me and exclaim “ENOUGH!” (a reaction I’ve had in the heat of a temper tantrum) I realize that words are often as powerful as actions. I have no doubt my kids watch my behavior but what they often choose to mimic are my words. When communicating, our body language is most powerful, followed by how we speak, and lastly what we say. I predict that over the next few years our choice of words will become even more important in our communications. This is especially true in a world where face to face interaction is declining and we rely more on the written word as a form of communication.
Email and text messaging are beginning to out pace phone conversations. Telemarketing used to be the first marketing touch for a lot of companies. Now, the first impression your company makes is through a website, direct mail piece, or email send. Demonstrating value through nothing but the written word can be a challenge. This becomes especially problematic as communication is forced into a smaller package. More emphasis is now placed on condensed content. On a web page you have about 30 seconds to deliver your message. With social media you’re often limited to 140 characters. Inflection and body language cannot be deciphered in a matter of words. So how do you engage quickly and make an impact?
Run your content through a speed date challenge. Can you make an impression and communicate your message in a matter of seconds? I’ve challenged our creative team to write the first paragraph of every web page as a Twitter feed. We’ve also conducted a series of micro-scripting workshops based on the practices outlined by Bill Schley. Bill challenges you to develop your message into short repeatable scripts. It’s been a great exercise in focusing our message.
I’m well aware my kids watch my every move, but I can’t underestimate the power of my words. The same can be said for how we communicate in business. What communication do you have a positive response to?