“It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what people hear” – and then we communicators simply gave up and went on vacation because we won’t listen to such things.
Or will we? We have already heard similar statements several times in our discussions, so we all agree that the content is the key and this is not a “chicken or egg” kind of situation. We do agree that while our message may be fantastic, it will be heard through the prism of feelings, motivations, values, and existing beliefs of the listener.
Therefore, the understanding of our target audiences is the foundation of all communication activities. In my opinion, one of the pains that I address over and over again, is that too often the use of the right words in public appearances is completely overlooked. We still too often listen to experts who are just trying to use foreign and professional terms, even when the audience is not a professional community, metaphors that the public does not know etc.
So I offer you just two small tips:
- Communication should not be elitist, but functional. The ultimate goal of communication is to convince people, when language is just a tool. The democratic language of the average man will always win over the high ancient Greek. So if you want to reach people, you have to know how to speak their language.
- Language experts will repeatedly point out that they would often win in persuasion if they knew how to use the right words, metaphors, and frameworks. Of course, I must immediately add a caveat: language is incredibly important, but it cannot work miracles.