Comminucation doesn’t occur when I deliver the information to you; it occurs only when you receive the information and understand it. Have you ever played a game called “telephone”? It starts by you whispering a few sentences into the ear of the person next to you, he whispers the message to the person next to him and she to the person next to her and so on. The last person then speaks the phrase aloud. It’s often surprisingly funny how much the last phrase spoken differs from the first. This game is a perfect illustration of how what we may intend to communicate isn’t that which is heard.
In business, we can mitigate the chances of miscommunication in a few simple ways. First, ask clients and potential clients about their preferred method and frequency of communication and then make a note in your CRM. The same client who rarely checks her email may welcome a phone call or text. Is she someone who needs a lot of detail or can you get straight to the point?
Marketing 101 dictates that your message be consistent and repeated six to nine times before people remember it. Changing your message or branding every time is akin to marketing to a new farm area every day! Focus your efforts, doing a few things well and consistently rather than many things sporadically. For example, you don’t necessarily need a presence on every social media channel to communicate effectively with your sphere and potential clients. Choose a couple of channels and commit to them on a consistent basis.
People are more receptive to your message if they feel connected to you. Friend them on Facebook, connect on LinkedIn and run a Google search to learn about them and personalize your communication.
Before communicating with anyone in person, by phone, over social media, by email or written letter, ask yourself how you want them to feel. The more genuinely sincere and personal your communication, the more likely they will be to remember your message.
George Bernard Shaw famously said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”