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If you’re in business you’ll know that getting your message straight is critical to success.  Mixed messages leave your customers confused and wondering what you and your business are about.  If your voice is to be heard above the general noise of the marketplace then you’d better be sure that you’re communicating clearly and consistently.  Here are five good reasons why you should get your message straight.

1.  Less Stress

Stop shooting yourself in the foot.  For a start it’s darned painful: why would you do it?  Getting your message straight will eliminate a lot of internal stress, tension and conflict.

I see this a lot.  Last week spent ten – fifteen minutes talking to Jan*.  She was unsure what a voice coach did so I said, sit down and I’ll show you.

I started by asking her about her background, her family and her work.  Jan seemed a little bemused by this approach but she quickly saw that you need to start with what your inner voice is saying.  Her family were tremendously important to her but we soon discovered that she also yearned for adventure.  The two seemed at odds with each other.

It is not hard to see how trying to hold these two opposing views in her head could have caused her a lot of  stress, perhaps even distress.  The simple act of acknowledging these things has set Jan on the course of reconciliation with herself.  After all, what’s wrong with a family adventure holiday?

2.  Target Your Audience

Once your message is straight it’s a whole lot easier to target the people you need to talk to.

Jonas* produces videos.  I saw him about three weeks ago.  He was struggling with his business and wanted to try and leverage social media to get the message out.  Ok! Great! I said.  So tell me about your business.  It turned out the video was only a part of it.  He sold Internet packages, manufactured equipment, filmed walk-on video for websites, besides all your other standard stuff that video producers do.  Some of it was going OK but nothing was really singing and some of it was barely ticking over.

The point is that if your message isn’t one but many messages it’s very hard to target anyone in particular.  Jonas saw that a better strategy would be to focus on his more successful lines and let the others fade away.

3.  Speak the Right Language

When in Rome, do as the Romans, including speaking their language.  Generally when speaking to Italians it’s best to speak Italian: speaking Lithuanian isn’t going to cut it – unless you’re incredibly lucky and have found a local who speaks both languages.

Knowing who you’re speaking to by targeting your audience effectively makes it a lot easier to use the right language – speak the lingo.

If my target audience is tradesmen then I need to use terms that they’ll understand and will appeal to them.  If I start using the kind of language a lawyer might use I’ll probably lose their attention before I get past the first three words.  Don’t think for a second that it’s about dumbing it down!  If you’re not a tradesman you will have to do a lot of research to make sure that you’re not being patronising.

5.  Use the Right Platforms

Three or four months ago I came across a photographer called Tanya*.  She was finding it very hard to reach her audience.  She’d got her message fairly clear and had a fairly good idea of who she needed to reach.  She just wasn’t reaching them.

She was relying on networking and word of mouth but was having a tough time.  The truth was that social media would have been a better way of reaching her target audience.  She was unsure how to go about it.  For example one of the fastest growing segments of Facebook is middle-aged women.  These people often have more disposable income than younger families and can afford to spend on something like photography.

I’ll keep you posted on how she’s getting on.

5.  Build Rapport

It’s a lot easier to build rapport with your audience once you’ve got your message straight.  Your dialogue will be a lot more consistent and consequently more effective.  You can build trust once your message is aligned with personal or organisational values.  People can smell a rat, something that’s not genuine.

There are plenty that are adept at pulling the wool over people’s eyes but for the most part that’s not you or I.  Besides it takes a lot less thinking about to speak from your heart.

Yours in good voice,

Robert Williams

* These are real people I’ve just changed their names to protect their identity.

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