Communicate clearly

Get the message across.

Copy to your organization

I know what is meant by messaging

Marketing messaging represents how a brand communicates to its customers and highlights the value of its products. "Messages" refer to not only the actual words and phrases used by a brand in advertising but also feelings and emotions associated with what they say.

I know the traits of great messaging

The traits of great messaging:

  • It is easily understood by the audience (does not cause confusion)
  • It is relatable, meaning it is recognizable, resonates with the audience and points to something they are not satisfied with today
  • It can be easily remembered and retold by the audience
  • It evokes feelings that trigger the desired action
I am careful to make knowledge assumptions 2

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, who is communicating with other individuals, assumes they have the background knowledge to understand.

Curse of knowledge

Experts have an intimate familiarity with the problem and a deep understanding of the underlying root causes. As a result, the solution makes obvious sense to them.

An amatueur, on the other hand, might be able to recognize the problem when it's pointed out to them, but their awareness and familiarity with the problem might be low and their understanding of root causes shallow or non-existent. As a result, the solutions might be non-obvious (or, in some cases, even counter-intuitive).

I show people what I mean 5

Sharing examples means giving real-life stories or specific situations to back up what you're saying.

Think of examples like pictures in a book – they help explain things. When you use examples, it's like showing evidence for your ideas. This is super useful when you're talking about things that are a bit tricky to understand.

Using examples makes information:

  1. Easier to Get: Examples make ideas easier to catch because they're like familiar puzzles. They help you see how things fit together in your own life.

  2. More Real: Examples turn boring facts into something you can touch and see in your mind. It's like turning a superhero story into a movie you can play in your head.

  3. Hard to Forget: When you hear a cool story or a funny example, it sticks in your brain. It's like remembering your favorite game – you can tell others about it because it's so interesting.

  4. For Everyone: Examples help everyone understand. They make big words smaller and confusing stuff clearer. It's like explaining a game to a friend so they can play too.

  5. Important to You: With examples, you can see why something matters to you. It's like knowing why eating healthy food makes you strong. You see how it helps you directly.

So, sharing examples is like bringing ideas to life. It's like making your words into a fun adventure that everyone can enjoy and understand together.

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system's ability to see patterns and trends.

Do a Google image search for infographics for examples.

Dynamic models are simplified representations of some real-world entity. They are intended to mimic some essential features of the study system while leaving out inessentials.

Remember to explain the graph, including mentioning what the X- and Y-axis represent. Do not assume that people get it. 

I use simple language 7

Read more in Paul Grahams essay Write Simply.

One way of practicing this skill is systematically go through your text and remove or replace "stop-and-think" words.

These are the types of words or concepts that people don't commonly use in everyday speech, or which they might have a poor understanding of, causing them to have to stop and think in order to either remember or reflect on what the word means.

The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers. The audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information conveyed because having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern.

People have a variying degree of confidence when it comes to not knowing or understanding something.

Some people are perfectly fine with it, while others might feel shameful for not knowing or stupid for not understanding.

If you make your audience feel ashamed or stupid, chances are that they are less willing to have anything to do with you.

I don't make the audience think 5

People generally care about the outcomes they want to achieve, meaning the jobs they want to get done, the pains they are looking to avoid and the gains they are hoping to achieve.

Your solution might help them achieve those outcomes, but unless you can make it painstakingly clear why and how that's the case, you risk confusing and loosing people.

To ensure this, start by communicating desired outcomes, and work your way back towards how your solution helps relieve pain and produce gain.

Remember that people don't care about your solutions. They only care about achieving their desired outcomes.

Sometimes, the primary point of communication is for it to resonate with people. In these cases, what is being communicated needs to be familiar.

Other times, the point of communication is to teach something new. In these cases, what is being communicated has to be, by its very nature of being new information, unfamiliar.

If you try to faciliate both resonnance and teaching simultaneously, you run the risk of producing less resonnance, because you increase the amount of unfamiliarity.

In contexts where you are focused on building awareness, trust and alignment, you should focus on familiar communication.

I make it easy to remember my message 3

Whenever we are given information that we can not relate to our own situation, we have a much harder time remembering it, simply because we can't see how it's relevant to us.

Some people claim to have a harder time remembering stuff if the information does not evoke an emotional response in them.

We also know that people's decisions are largely influenced by how the feel (the emotional self), and then later rationalized by thoughts (the rational self).

Knowing this, effective messaging neeeds to tap into the emotional responses of the audience by describing the emotional impact of both the problem and the solution.

Some people (probably most) remember information more easily when it is organized in story-form.

This is demonstrated by how many lessions that have survivied through centuries of story-telling.

I drive people to action 4
Messaging is read and interpreted by people, not ingested by computers.
Although people rationalize their decisions through thinking, feelings arer usually what causes people to act (or prevents them from doing so).

Great messaging provokes feelings that trigger action:

  • Fear/anxiety/concern of not acting
  • Guilt
  • Desire
  • Curiosity
  • Inspiration
  • Confidence
  • Relevance/resonance
Poor messaging provokes no feelings, or feelings that triggers rejection:
  • Boredom
  • Overwhelm
  • Confusion
  • Disgust
  • Indifference
  • Fear/anxiety/concern of acting

Acting involves change which in turn involves risk. Not acting does also of course involve risk, but that is not as appearant because it does not involve change.

You should strive to make the risks of not acting just as appearant as the risk of acting.

The idiom "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" is used to say that it is better to deal with a difficult person or situation one knows than with a new person or situation that could be worse.

The key word here is could, which points to the uncertainty of the new situation. It means that people may prefer a current, painful situation to a potentially less painful situation, but which involves more uncertainty.

If we want people to act, we need to not only communicate the prospect of the new situation, but also reduce the uncertainty associated with its outcomes.


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