The Dilution Dilemma

Do you ever feel your important messages fall on deaf ears? Are your carefully constructed and communicated strategies always get implemented? Are you often frustrated by the difference between the results you ask of others and what you actually get?

Why? The answer: The Dilution Dilemma. By the time the message is passed down or through the organization, the clarity, effectiveness and impact are dramatically diluted.

What can you do to minimize or eliminate this costly dilution? The antidote can be summarized by these four words: constant, clear, catchy and compelling.

Constant. The best messaging loses effectiveness when it changes. The more often messaging changes, the less believable future messaging becomes. Repetition is the mother of both retention and understanding. You need to stick to your messaging until you are sick and tired of repeating it.

Clear. Ambiguity is the enemy of success. When people aren’t clear on what you mean, they fill in the blanks, and usually incorrectly. You must cut through the superfluous to find the substantive and communicate it in such a way that there can be no misunderstanding. Be clear on what people must do as a result of what you’re telling them. You can’t insinuate what needs to be done; clarity requires a call to action.

Catchy. Your audience is bombarded with messages in every conceivable medium. Being catchy is about breaking through the clutter and being memorable. More importantly, catchy messages make us want to repeat them. We all love the catchy and quickly tire of the mundane. Remember, facts validate, but stories illustrate.

Compelling. The ultimate guard against dilution is to make your important messages compelling. People can be clear and able to act on the information, but they won’t without reasons that make sense to them. That is the essence of creating a compelling message: getting people to care enough to do something. Compelling ideas are powerful; they have the ability to induce action. And that requires emotion.

Summing-up: Ideas must be robust enough to be strong and withstand the almost inevitable affects of the dilution dilemma. The strength of your ideas and messages comes from constant and clear communication that is designed to be catchy and compelling.

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