What’s the biggest challenge for anybody trying to communicate anything in our current era? It’s hard to be different enough and interesting enough to get anyone to pay attention. We live in an era where there’s 10 trillion messages zooming around us every second of the day. Every single company, for that matter, every single individual consultant working from home has the power to be a full-time TV network, radio network, and newspaper. Everybody is communicating more and more messages while seemingly fewer people are listening to anything.
This creates a huge opening for anyone who is willing to communicate messages that stand out as entirely different. Because so many of us are all saying exactly the same thing.
This can be good and bad. Without starting a political free-for-all on this blog just look at the current occupant of the White House. You can analyze a lot of different reasons for him getting there, but one of them has to be that the messages he communicated as a candidate stood out as completely different from all the other messages from all the other candidates in both parties. And when you have a message that is different, you essentially buy yourself rocket boosters for that message for free.
This can, of course result in a race to the bottom, a challenge to see who can go lower, or more extreme. But it can also be a challenge to see who can be the most innovative, who can think further ahead, who can be the most novel.
This is where I like to think that I am focusing my attention, and I hope it is where you are too. Increasingly, I think one of the biggest questions anyone should ask before pushing that send button, or post button or publish button is this: “is this a truly interesting idea that people haven’t seen or heard many times in the past?” If the answer is no, just don’t bother, because your message will be the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one there listening.
The future for communication, the only successful future, will be for those who spend as much time figuring out how to make their ideas, if not completely new and novel, at least appear to be new and novel, whether it is through genuine unique insight, or entertainment value, or packaging, or the visuals.
Unfortunately this takes more work. But the difference between a blog post or YouTube video with two views versus 2 million is found in those margins.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. I don’t have a particularly strong sense of graphics, and I am often too impatient to find accompanying pictures or photos to go with a lot of my contacts. I know that hurts me. I need to work on that.
What are your weaknesses as a communicator? Where do you need to improve? What are you doing to Improve your communication? Because if you just continue to do the same all thing I think what you’re likely to see is lower and lower impressions, fewer interactions, and less of an impact with all of your communications.
Be true, be factual, be accurate, be helpful and yes, be different, interesting and unique if you want your message heard.