By Rachel McClary, Ph.D.
Chief Marketing Officer
So many iterations of this trusted mantra exist, and indeed they should. Dating back to FDR’s “Be sincere; be brief; be seated” or Nietzche’s ambition to say in 10 sentences what others say in an entire book, effective communicators strive to find the Holy Grail in distributing their critical message. How often are we successful? How often are we connecting with our audience and imparting our message? Less frequently than most may think. Three simple steps, designed intentionally with simplicity for us all to consider as we struggle to break through the noise to be heard and remembered.
1. Discipline with BREVITY
Brevity is a skill few possess, yet many covet. It’s not an easy skill hone, designed for those with patience, foresight and creativity. Successfully executed, brevity delivers in highly concentrated segments, bursts of information, where every word has impact. Carefully chosen for its delivery, words are painstakingly selected, considered, edited, removed, added and updated to deliver against the goal. It’s no wonder this accomplishment is enjoyed by so few. It takes time.
Allow yourself the “headroom” to apply your brilliance in Step Two and your Insight in Step 3 to understand your consumers, and when enough is enough. The result is far superior than rushing through to create a longer, less organized and thoughtful end product.
Careful review looking for redundancies not only in words but sentences and sometimes entire paragraphs can yield dramatic results. You’ll likely find that more than 30% of what you’re communicating is redundant, yet in a negative way, because it’s presented as a new thought.
2. Differentiate with BRILLIANCE
Cut through the distraction of noise and chatter of superfluous statements by asking yourself: what is the single takeaway I want for this audience.? Then develop a memorable, consumable soundbite with one to two analogies to support it.
If only one, how do you choose? Best way to ensure success is to understand your audience – what is their motivation for listening and how will it benefit them? What method or example can you use that they will internalize and be able to apply to your message?
3. Edit with an EXPEDITIOUS EXIT
As social animals, we’re programmed to use communication as a way to interact and thrive, so it’s no surprise that we overuse it to the point of being counterproductive. Employing the difficult task of concentrating a message to its most significant core, wrapped in words that are most relevant for that audience requires the necessary insight to know when the delivery is successful and the goal achieved. In other words, more words don’t necessarily equal more understanding. Know when to stop.
Don’t “sell past the close”: reiterating and repeating your message too much appears redundant and disorganized. Have faith in the intelligence of your audience and ability to consume your message. If you’ve designed the right message for the right audience, let it speak for itself. For example – is this last paragraph even necessary, or is the penultimate sufficient?
As Chief Marketing Officer, Arcserve, Rachel McClary serves as the architect and leader of marketing strategy, supporting company objectives with brand, thought leadership, demand generation, loyalty and sales enablement programs. Previous positions this strategic marketing leader has held include Global Vice President, Marketing, Diebold Nixdorf, where she transformed marketing into a strategic and insight driven, customer-centric function and designed and executed the global strategy for brand, market presence and field marketing in support of sales. Before that, Rachel was Marketing Director, CSC Americas, where she built a world-class field marketing organization supporting a $4B+ revenue target throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America.