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Leadership Communication That Sticks

Why do some leaders' messages cut through the noise while others don't?

My grandfather had a quirky saying he would tell us, “Put it where the goats can get it.”

We’re not an agricultural family, but it was a powerful visual reminder to keep our communication simple and clear to cut through the noise. In this post, I share 4 tips to help you cut through the noise and create sticky messaging.




Where the Goats Can Get It
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Why do some leaders' messages cut through the noise while others don't? My grandfather had a quirky saying he would tell us, “Put it where the goats can get it.” We’re not an agricultural family, but it was a powerful visual reminder to keep our communication simple and clear in order to cut through the noise.


He was a child of sharecroppers who only had the privilege of attending school through second grade.

Yet he built multiple million-dollar businesses and gave countless people opportunities to provide for their families. As a tried and tested leader, he understood the power of communication in leadership.


Communication can inspire, motivate, align, and so much more. But only if your audience receives it.

Just like placing food within reach for goats ensures they get the nourishment they need, making our messages clear and accessible ensures that everyone can understand and act on them. In leadership, this means using straightforward language, avoiding jargon, and tailoring our communication to our audience’s needs.


As leaders, it's our job to make sure our messages are clear and accessible to all.

Here are four tips and resources to help you simplify your communication:

 

Know Your Audience

 

Before you start crafting your message, take a moment to think about who will be receiving it. What are their backgrounds? What level of detail do they need? Use language that is familiar to them and avoid jargon that might confuse or alienate. Tailoring your message to your audience ensures it will be well-received and understood.


Be Concise and Clear

 

 Less is more. clarity trumps complexity every time. Focus on your main points and eliminate any unnecessary details. A clear, concise message is more likely to be remembered and acted upon.


Use Visual Aids

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Use visuals to support your message and make it more engaging. Diagrams, infographics, and slides can help break down complex information and make it easier for your audience to grasp.


Harness the Power of Storytelling

 

Stories captivate and inspire. Incorporate storytelling into your communication to make your message more relatable and memorable. Use narratives that highlight your key points and connect with your audience on a deeper level.


Additional Resources

 

"Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

  • This book explores the principles of effective communication and provides practical advice on how to make your ideas memorable and impactful. It delves into the concept of "stickiness" and offers a framework for crafting messages that resonate with your audience.


"Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences" by Nancy Duarte

  • Nancy Duarte, a leading expert in presentation design, offers strategies for using storytelling and visual aids to create compelling presentations. This resource is particularly useful for leaders looking to enhance their ability to communicate complex ideas in an engaging and accessible way.


Harvard Business Review: "How to Tell a Great Story"

  • This article from Harvard Business Review provides practical tips and insights on how to use storytelling to enhance your communication. It explores the elements of a great story and how to incorporate them into your messaging.

  • How to Tell a Great Story


TED Talks Playlist: "How to Speak So That People Want to Listen"

  • This curated playlist includes some of the best TED Talks on effective communication. The talks cover various aspects of speaking clearly, engaging an audience, and making your message memorable.


 

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