Never have humans talked, tweeted or texted more words — and found it more difficult to be heard.
Why it matters: In this era of nonstop noise, every person must be a skillful communicator. Yet most struggle at it.
- Customers and employees are demanding to know what companies stand for. Most executives have been lousy at providing an answer.
- Our remote and hybrid working world puts a premium on clarity and consistency of message. Most managers are unprepared.
- When communication fails, teams and ideas fail. 30% of all project failures are the direct result of poor communication, according to a Project Management Institute study.
Here are a few tips we have learned running a media company that you can use to bust through the noise:
- Write like you speak. Jargon, throat-clearing and well-known background weigh your message down. Conversational language is captivating.
- Ruthlessly prioritize. Attention spans are short and shrinking. Accept it. Get to the point quickly so readers can move on. 60% to 80% of people will scan, not read, what you write, University of Maryland research found.
- Repetition matters. If you want someone to remember something, communicate crisply — and repeatedly. By the time you have annoyed yourself, others are probably starting to hear you.
- Diversify. Fast. Every person needs to be able to speak authoritatively — or listen authentically — about diversity, equity and inclusion. If you rolled your eyes at this one, get help, quick.
The big picture: The communications crisis isn’t confined to business or top leaders. The more noise and distraction, the more precision and efficiency matter in being heard — and remembered.
- Just look at politics: Power no longer flows from position, seniority or money. It flows to those who master — or game — modern, short-burst communications on cable or Twitter.
- Teachers, preachers, small-group leaders — everyone who communicates one-to-many — faces similar challenges in penetrating brains rewired by quick-twitch technology.
📱 You're invited: Join Jim VandeHei and other Axios colleagues Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET for a half-hour virtual event, "The War for Attention: Communication Rules for a Hybrid Workforce." Sign up here.