By Tim Hayes
If it’s true that in space no one can hear you scream, then it is just as true – if not more so – that in business or politics, unless you have a distinct and compelling message, no one can hear you at all.
Our society drowns in information. Want proof? Check this out. More new information has been produced in the last 50 years than in the previous 5,000. One Sunday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person in the 18th Century – that includes the Founding Fathers – would have encountered in an entire lifetime. But that’s nothing. Every minute of every day, this happens*:
— Twitter users send more than 350,000 Tweets.
— About 400 hours of new video get uploaded to YouTube.
— Instagram users “Like” 2.5 million posts.
— The number of Facebook Posts shared reaches 3 million.
— Facebook users “Like” more than 4 million posts.
— Online users perform 4 million Google searches.
— Users launch 4 million text messages and 205 billion e-mails.
And each of these 60-second trends continues to increase and expand every year. Who’s sending out all of this information? Who’s receiving it? Is any of it being seriously understood, retained, acted upon? And why is this important?
It’s important because we need leaders who know the value of strategic, planned, informational, inspirational, positive and effective goal-oriented communication. Without it, a chasm opens between a vision for the future, and the perceptions and expectations of those who would follow it. Proper communication, carefully considered and expertly crafted, bridges that gap.
The words people speak and write matter. The challenge comes in making those words soar above the roar. The best speakers, whether in politics, business, religion or social causes, know this. It’s not theatrics, it’s not shtick. It’s couching a central idea in a memorable manner.
Think of it this way. Would you rather listen to a CEO recite a laundry list of “steps to counter a shareholder proposal” or hear him assert authority by citing his “reasons our company can do better than this.”
Would you rather endure a leader’s “litany of injustices and setbacks” or be inspired by his hopeful wish that, “With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
Would you rather be resigned to lukewarm acceptance by a morose, “We will get through this” or be roused to greatness with a robust, “If we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose.”
Would you rather hear a president “respectfully ask that this obstacle be removed,” or get chills when he demands, “Tear down this wall!”
They say when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Random, unfocused, ill-conceived verbal missives don’t build credibility. Quite the opposite, actually.
When carefully considered and artfully expressed words stick in the minds of people, they lead to change, to progress, to a sense of shared purpose. But if those words aren’t memorably crafted and conveyed with passion and confidence, they, like a scream in space, don’t stand a chance.
There’s too much at stake to be shouting into a void. There’s too much at stake to be shouting at all. Stop shouting, stop digging. Use your platform with power and honor. Respect your audience. Think first, to communicate properly.
Copyright 2017 Timothy P. Hayes