In today’s environment of converging technologies, we are exposed to so many messages and
images that there is true reluctance to accept new information. We often feel overwhelmed and
establish defenses against this invasion. This presents a major obstacle for any organization
wanting to share information, how do I break through the clutter? And for most of us, on the
receiving end as consumers, the question is “why should I care?”
It is imperative to understand and utilize the dynamics of communication to create a true listening and
understanding opportunity for your message. To facilitate a receptive environment for your message
– you must adhere to the way in which we are wired for learning. As detailed in the book, “Beyond
Buzz – The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing” by Lois Kelly, the author outlines there are
four major points to the way in which we learn: Relevancy, Emotions, Context, and Pattern Making.
For each and every one of us to fully accept information, it must satisfy us in all four areas.
With any message, we need care about it on some level. For the sender, it is our task to identify that
relevancy and share it with the subject – help them to understand why it is important. Although, we
might not like to admit it, emotions and feelings have great influence over our actions. I know we
have all experienced whereby we were more influenced by the tone of a message rather than it’s
content. i.e. remember a time when you had the pleasure of someone yelling a message to you at
close range-you probably lost the content of the message, but received a message all the same. It is
important to recognize that the tone of a message is at least as important as the content for
acceptance. The third point is that a message must have context for acceptance. The recipient
must have some experience in relation to the message. The point is to keep your audience in mind –
ensure that your audience can identify with your message. For example, next time you pick up a box
of Cap’n Crunch cereal look at the different sides of the box. The audience for the messages on the
front and back of the box normally does not match the one for the side of the box that explains the
nutrient content or lack of one. The last item is Pattern Making. As recipients we like to search and
identify patterns within the information to identify value for us. Without this perceived value we tend
to disregard the message. The sender would be greatly served by supporting this principle through
clear identification of information and its significance.
Remember it is easy enough to lose a message through all the clutter. You can navigate the
confusion by providing a clear and compelling message to your targeted audience by adhering to the
four points of learning.
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