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Three secrets of great communication

CommunicationHow to make your message memorable 

A great strategy is pointless if you can’t get it delivered, and the key to delivering anything in an organisation is people. Your strategy depends entirely on your ability to get people inspired, aligned, and engaged behind delivering it.

And the simplest way to do that, is to talk to them clearly, regularly and repeatedly, with a message they can understand, interpret, and apply.

So here are three simple rules to help make your strategy stick.

1. The power of three

Great things come in threes, especially when it comes to memorable messages. From Benjamin Franklin’s "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn" to Franklin D Roosevelt’s advice on speaking: "Be sincere, be brief, be seated".

When a message is delivered in three parts it is easier on the ear, simpler to remember, and considerably more impactful than it would otherwise be. That might mean you choose three areas of focus: like making things “better for our customers, simpler for our people and cheaper for our business”. Each of these can be broken down into three more priorities. Anyone can remember three lots of three, but six or seven unrelated items? No chance.

2. Seek similar sounds

From soldiers learning camouflage (shine, shadow, shape, sound and silhouette) to trainees learning marketing (place, product, price, promotion and people), a simple set of similar sounds makes an instant aide-memoir. It’s called Alliteration, and it’s a trick that orator’s have used for centuries. From Caesar: “veni vedi vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) to Kennedy: “let us go forth to lead the land we love”.

Combined with the power of three, this might give a team three areas of focus: Serving, Selling and Saving. Quite simply, the easier the strategic priorities are to remember, the more chance there is of everyone focusing on their delivery.

3. A picture is worth...

From wartime propaganda to modern day adverts, simple, evocative image with a short set of words can be the most powerful way to get a message across. I recently worked with a CEO who’s entire mission and strategy was encapsulated in a single, striking image, of three small cartoon drawings in a circle of arrows. Another showed me her entire operational model depicted as a simple flower, with a centre and four petals, saying “Everyone knows that we find something we’re doing isn’t directly contributing to one of those petals, we stop it”.

These three rules aren’t hard to follow, and what’s more, they don’t cost a penny, just a bit of thought and practice. Plus, they can be reused over and over again, in every briefing, every meeting and every interaction with the people in your business.

Bottom Line: When you consider the time, effort, and cost that goes into developing a strategy, why wouldn’t you give a least as much thought to how it gets communicated?

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