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Noise vs. Clarity – How Are Your Communications Perceived?

Here’s how I start my elevator pitch in networking meetings:

Anytime you communicate, whether it’s via the written or spoken word, the recipients of your message will do one of two things: they’ll either tune in because it’s interesting or they’ll tune OUT because they’ll quickly classify it as NOISE.

As a professional communicator, one of my main jobs is to bring great clarity to my clients’ messaging so that they don’t get classified as noise. Noise can be defined as mistargeted and/or confusing messaging that fails to engage stakeholders.

The saying is true: When you confuse, you lose.

For example, when someone visits your website, you only have a few precious seconds to communicate who you are, what you do, and what’s in it for them. If you can’t do that, all you’ve done is create noise in the minds of others and they’ll move on.

AuthenticityPR’s niche is making storytelling your PR superpower. When you visit our homepage, it’s obvious storytelling is a central focus of our PR/communications services.

How many times have you visited a website and you had no idea what this person or company did? I also have had the same reaction when receiving someone’s business card. (That’s why I’m an advocate for putting a headline on business cards.)

Interest and engagement are immediately killed when you can’t quickly understand why you should care about a company’s message. When that happens, you classify the company’s communication as noise. Then you move on.

Have a Communications Strategy

Planning before you communicate is key. That’s why you need a strategic communications plan.

A communications plan will include overall objectives, research on your stakeholders (your target markets), key points of differentiation, competitive advantages, talking points, communication channels, etc.

One huge advantage to a communications plan is it helps your organization speak with one voice. Having people and/or departments from the same company on different pages only confuses your stakeholders — and it’ll hurt your image and perceived value.

For example, when I was hired by Penta Water in 2004 as their first full-time public relation executive, I quickly learned this premium water brand lacked consistency in some of its communications. Most notably was what they said about their water purification process. Depending what communication you read or heard, they had a 7-, 8-, 11-, 13- or 17-step purification process that took anywhere from approximately 10-15 hours.

Whew. What a tangled mess of communications that was.

To unwind this tangle of communication confusion, I scheduled time with the plant manager. I had him explain in great detail the water purification process. After digesting all my notes, I concluded the water undergoes an 11-hour, 13-step purification process. When you visit their website, you’ll see some 20 years later this same messaging is still being used.

3 Tips for Being Noise-Free

Guided by your communications plan, keep these 3 tips in mind to make your messaging noise-free:

  1. Write with great clarity – Use clear, simple language. This isn’t a time to show off all the new words you learned in the Scrabble® dictionary.
  2. Be specific – Avoid generic statements or clichés. Provide the necessary details to assure quick comprehension. I once heard someone say, “To be specific is terrific, but to be vague is the plague.”
  3. Feature your USP – What’s your unique selling proposition? What gives you a competitive advantage? Why should people choose your offer over someone else’s?

When you communicate with greater clarity, you go from noise to noticeable — and you’re more attention-getting, engaging and persuasive. And you’re also more likely to meet your strategic communications objectives.

Dealing with communications conundrums? Stuck on how to tell your story so that it resonates with your target audience? Then schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me here.

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