There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Have you communicated it 3 times yet?

If the work of marketing and business development centers around building and evolving relationships, both within the organization and outside (and it certainly does); then arguably the most important skill to hone is an understanding of communications.

For many who grew up focusing on advertising or sales, the numbers and the effect of those communication numbers are drilled into you (frequency, reach, sales calls, conversion, etc). However it seems many of these principles are getting lost.

Possbly the most important one revolves around understanding what it takes for a message to be heard and possibly understood.

What was drilled into me as a young marketing professional was that the research showed that messages must be sent a minimum of 3 times to expect anyone to hear it. And that the optimum number of communications was 6 to 9 times.

In other words, if its important,
> noone hears it before you've said it 3 times
> one should expect for people to have heard your message once you have communicated it 6 times and that
> there was probably less real value to communicating it more than 9 times. If it hadn't been understood or acted upon at that point, it probably wouldn't be.

So if you believe your communication's responsibility stops with sending an email or a white paper or because you left a message or gave a speech, you are extremely naive. Or maybe what you have to say just isn't very important.

So here's the arithmetic: if you are communicating something which requires perception and/or possible action and you haven't communicated your message a mimimum of three times, you shouldn't expect anything from anyone. Follow this rule and your life (both professionally and personally) will make a whole lot more sense . . .and you may become be a great communicator.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Allen. Honesty, clarity, consistency, and sometimes creativity, are key in successfully delivering important messages. Too many executives and managers think that saying something once is enough to make it stick and result in individual and group action. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all bombarded by hundreds of messages a day, so it is essential for companies to be focused, strategic communicators who listen and engage key audiences regularly to advance the relationship, and the company's interests.

    The importance of multiple messages delivered through multi-tiered channels is heightened in an environment of high-change and during a crisis - and that holds true for external and internal constituencies. Employees want more high-level vision and goals from executive leadership, while they trust colleagues and supervisors - those closest to them - more for "what does that mean to me" type information and objectives. In the face of major issues, more face-to-face communication is required, as are feedback channels.