Want to move people? Make sure your message is as clear as possible
Clarifying your message is the most important part of winning people over.
At some point, winning people over will be a necessary part of your life’s mission.
If you care deeply about a cause and want to see change happen in the world, you’ll need to move people to see things differently.
If you’re with a nonprofit organization actively making a difference, you’ll need a compelling case for why people should support your work. Otherwise, you can’t do it anymore.
If your mission is to make something- whether it’s a small business or a work of art, you’ll need to build an audience.
And in order to win people, they need to know what you’re all about.
Many people point to shorter attention spans as a curse of the modern world. Thanks Twitter! The reality is that the human brain was always built to process a complex world in simple terms. It’s a survival tool. What has changed are the amount of messages we’re exposed to each day.
It’s gotten harder to stand out. And there’s never been a time that’s demanded clearer communication.
Harmful and inaccurate information is frequently accepted, because it’s presented with more clarity than the truth. Weaker candidates regularly beat out better leaders simply because they communicate a simpler message. People choose frivolous lifestyles over generous ones because its benefits are more easily understood.
The world needs truth tellers, good leaders, and compassionate people to master the art of clarity.
Confusion is the number one reason messages fail.
There are two big reasons behind confusing communication that I see often.
Knowing too much or saying too much. Or both.
1) Knowing too much.
If you do something for 40 hours a week, you are on the fast track to becoming an expert at it. Heck, if you do something for 5 hours a week, you’ll end up knowing far more about it than the average person.
Part of being an expert means paying attention to detail, understanding the importance of things that are seemingly small, and having a deep knowledge bank.
These are good traits, but when you’re communicating with a mass audience, they won’t be at that same level. If you’re a level 80 expert, you’ll have to take yourself down to level 20. You’ll have to ditch the technical language. You’ll have to translate yourself into layperson terms.
But hey, you’re in the best position to do this.
2) Saying too much.
This is a trap I fall into all the time. I have such diverse interests, but in my head, they’re all connected. Social justice and art and marketing and travel. It’s easy to go off on tangents or to try and make 48 points within a single blog posts.
And whenever I do that, I’m guaranteed to write something that falls flat.
I’ve learned to be okay with having diverse interests and knowing how to connect them, but when you’re producing a single document, I allow myself to only make one point. If I have more points, I’ll likely need to write separate materials for each.
Communicating with clarity is a skill that must be developed.
No matter where you’re starting from, learning how to communicate clearly is a never ending process. It’s not a skill that develops overnight, and takes practice.
It’s a good habit that develops through repetition.
After everything I write, I still go through a process of trying to cut my word count by a third. I try to make sure I say is easily understood.
By now, however, I’ve seen enough good results to be convinced the practice is totally worth it.
Just like you would use a fact-checker to make sure of accuracy, or a proof-reader to make sure your grammar is sound, it’s valuable to go through a few checkpoints to make sure your message is as clear and as compelling as possible.
I’ve published the guide I use for everything I work on. It’s a simple ten point list of questions to ask yourself before, during, and after content production in order to turn a complex message into one that resonates with people.
To download Sharpen Your Message: The Guide simply follow the button below and it’ll be in your inbox within seconds!