There’s no question that communicating your ideas is important. But have you noticed that some of your messages get across to people and others don’t?
No matter the form, you can increase your chances of being heard, understood, and inspire action in your audience by adding one element to all communications – humanity.
We so often use business jargon, over complicated phrasing, and lengthy explanations along with the current hashtag buzz of the day. #doneWithHashtags
But are you actually getting through? Are the people you are trying to reach actually hearing your message? Are you inspiring them into action?
Switch roles for a moment. Be the audience. Think about the messages you receive on a daily basis through emails, presentations, phone calls, meetings, etc. What is it that gets your attention?
Let’s focus even more. When you go through your inbox, what messages do you read first? Whose messages do you enjoy reading? What requests do you act on immediately? What is different about those messages from the others?
I asked myself those questions and took a few days to get the answers. I read messages from individuals before automated messages or those sent to groups of people. Amongst individuals, I read messages from family and clients first. I enjoy reading messages that are personal, friendly, and were written specifically to me. I can tell they were only to me because they are relevant to my priorities and interests. I act on emails that share not only a clear call to action, but that share with me why it is important to myself and the sender.
What I realized is I open, read, and respond to emails that have an element of vulnerability. When an individual asks me for help, that’s vulnerability. And no matter who you are, you need someone’s help. Why else would you be emailing? You need your employees to deliver. You need your clients’ trust. You need your suppliers’ cooperation. You need your voters’ support. We all need one another.
Humans connecting to humans.
It’s one human being reaching out to connect to another. It’s not a business reaching out to a customer. It’s not a software company reaching out to an end user. I’m not an end user, I’m a human being.
Often we try to represent our organization by being cold, direct, and unfeeling. We try to represent the processes and procedures, the bits and bytes of the activities we manage. But even the most structured of organizations needs human beings to exist.
Whether you are in business, research, governmenet, or education there is one thing you can do to increase the impact of your communications: add humanity to your message.
Look at your most recent email asking someone to do something for you.
Reread that last message to your clients. Read aloud the script for your last presentation. Does it sound like a computer wrote it? Does it sound like a lawyer wrote it? How could you put more humanity in it?
In your very next message – add a bit of yourself – you are human.