Legendary communications strategist Frank Luntz is a master at helping people understand how to get their messages across. His motto “It’s not what you say; it’s what people hear” sums up the quandary that you face when you try to communicate with, sell to, convince or persuade people with your words.
As you have probably experienced yourself, we are more distrustful than ever before. Inflated advertising claims, spurious viral internet stories, journalists in disgrace and the hollow words of politicians have trained the public to be skeptical and wary.
So how do you succeed in penetrating that wall of hostility?
The answer is to forge a true human connection with your reader, customer or audience. As a writer, editor and content strategist, I’ve had a lot of success in making this happen.
It’s easy to say but hard to do.
Here are a few secrets:
- Make your communication about your audience not you.As Luntz so memorably says, it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear. It’s not what you show; it’s what they remember.So instead of making your message revolve around your agenda, your USP, your views, put yourself in the shoes of your listener or reader. Why should they care? What is relevant to them?
- Emotional connection is essentialYour words can move people – change their minds, influence their choices and propel their actions IF you touch them on a fundamental level. That requires you to focus on the human dimension. By changing the way your reader feels, you change the way they see, and you create trust.
Creating content that does this is hard. It requires you to really understand the mindset, needs and challenges of your audience. It also requires you to be unabashedly authentic.
- Understand one fundamental equationOutcome = Experience – Expectation. That means that you have to deliver what your words prime the reader to expect. A large part of why Americans are so angry these days is that we are continually faced with empty promises. If you want to gain a customer (and have them come back again) or change someone’s behavior, you have to be scrupulously honest both in tone and substance.
I have helped many people and businesses craft messaging that accomplishes these three things with writing, editing and content strategy for websites, blogs, marketing, white papers and more. If you’d like to hear more about what I can do for you, contact me here.