In the name of the best within you
“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are at its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of people be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved integrity. Do not lose your knowledge that our proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it’s yours.”
8 Timeless Truths of Communication
1. A flawed plan well communicated is better than a perfect plan poorly communicated.
A great plan poorly communicated is like a fantastic sound system that lacks an “on” button.
Communication shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be a first thought.
2. If you think “plain language” is “dumbing down,” you flatter yourself.
There’s a Grand Canyon-sized gap between what organizations want to say and how they choose to say it. It’s common to neglect the importance of “voice” — the tone of your communication, as determined by your audience.
Businesses that want to sound “official” usually end up sounding egotistical or confusing. Their messages are filled with corporate-speak, jargon, and gobbledygook. The intent of their messages is lost in the delivery.
Clarity is the main ingredient of effective communication. If your messages aren’t obvious, they can’t be understood.
3. Creativity is a precursor to engagement.
People are motivated in different ways — some are won over with logic and reason, some are influenced by forces of emotion, and some need a healthy mix of both.
Dream up some compelling new ways to communicate, and watch what happens: More employees will “wake up.”
4. Less is more. Think “telegraph message.”
The average attention span of Americans today is roughly the time it has taken you to readthis sentence. “You only have a minute to gain their attention” is an incorrect maxim. You have about 2.7 seconds.And then you have to keep their interest so they can act upon your communication? That’s not easy, to say the least. You’re trying to reach employees at the same time they’re updating some files while instant messaging with co-workers while straightening up their desks while listening to a conference call.
Do they have a minute? Actually, no.
Say it quick, and make it stick.
Don’t “bury” the point.
Brevity and clarity are essential components of effective communication. If your messages aren’t obvious and plain, they can’t be understood.
Short and scannable. An economy of words. Get visual. Go!
5. People understand real risk, not relative risk.
Flip a coin. Call it. Heads or tails? You’ve got a 50% chance of being wrong (or right). And that’s about the extent of what most of us understand about risk (chance).
People don’t understand risk factors.
Talking about things differently will enable communication that drives people to action, leading to behavior change and culture change (it’s a lasting change!).
6. Headlines are critical.
Employees are literally surrounded by communication. On their desks, memos and faxes await response. On their computers, unread email messages mount, and instant messages ding. Corkboards have sticky notes, cell phones have missed calls, and … what? You have an important message to send?
Truth is, people don’t read. They scan. We are a populace versed in instant gratification: Give us the good stuff, and do it now!
Relish the role of making your health and benefits communication simple, not just essential.
7. Print communication will not disappear.
Imagine for a moment that we occupy a completely digital world, one in which no one has heard of printing. And then someone makes a discovery: There’s a way to grow a substance that can be converted into a portable communications tool. This tool can be used, shared and — get this! — recycled later into a bench.
Renewable? Recyclable? Portable? Is this magic?
But in today’s real world, print is degraded for being environmentally hazardous, and it’s downgraded for being un-cool. But it has been the world’s No. 1 communications medium for so long, we tend to overlook its power.
People trust print. It’s credible. They feel comfortable using it. They can’t fast-forward past it. Print doesn’t delete. You don’t need to charge it.
Print is beautiful. It can draw the eye to content and photos with effects and papers that make readers want to touch and feel your message.
Print enhances the impact of other media. Direct mail, poster campaigns and brochures can lead people to websites, videos, and social media sites — and vice versa.
Printed content will continue to play a strategically important role in communication. Print gives you a less competitive and crowded medium with all the benefits of a physical impact. Make print part of your media mix.
8. Simple beats complex. Small beats big. Easy beats hard.
Some of the most effective communication plans were created by organizations that were brave enough to think small.
Rome wasn’t created in a day. Improved health and a better understanding of benefit options won’t happen overnight either.
Well-crafted messages can spur employees to action, but change is more realistic when it’s less idealistic - when it encourages minor changes rather than massive overhauls.