Developing a Clear Message

When you have a coherent mission you can speak about what you are offering with passion and ease. You become an empowered representative of your business. Whether you are selling something, offering a service, or creating a compelling retail space, take the time to develop a clear message.

When you go through the steps to verbalize the aspects of your message, you quickly discover where fear, anxiety, and self-sabotage detract from your goals. To develop better communication between you and your client or customer, consider these questions:

  • What is your service, promise, invitation?
  • What do you offer that is unique?
  • Who is your audience or your customer?
  • What is the form of your invitation? (Examples: storefront, ad, sign, website)
  • How does your visual invitation communicate your message?
  • What makes your message special or memorable?
  • When should your message be personal to reflect you or your client’s needs?
  • When do you need to make the message impersonal?
  • How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your message?
  • How do you evaluate any weakness in the effectiveness of your message?
  • Do you revisit your message and its effectiveness?
  • How do you know that what you have to offer has value?
  • How do you evaluate the quality of what you offer?

If you have a website, is the website an informational platform, an opportunity for self-expression, a place for exploration and discovery, a way to establish your expertise, a description of your services, an invitation, a place to sell something, an avenue to create community, and/or a form of advertising?

What are the key words or phrases that you would use to describe you, the service, and the experience of the service? Examples: efficient, honest, transparent, kind, thorough, clear, thoughtful, unusual, creative, fun, well-informed, accessible.

Evaluating Your Message

Do you have a mission statement that clearly states why your businesses exists, what you make/contribute/offer, who you serve, and what sets you apart? Do you revisit this mission statement?

Do you have an elevator speech that is memorable, sincere, and effortless? Do you revisit this elevator speech?

A periodic spring cleaning of your message, the information you convey, and the information in the visual field of your message and business space is a must.

Visual clutter can accumulate, along with unnecessary or incongruous objects and ideas.

Revisit the space or material with fresh eyes and allow the experience of what is currently there to inform you. Look at your surroundings, both the interior spaces and the exterior approaches. (Taking photographs of physical spaces is a great way to get a fresh perspective. We see in photographs things we fail to notice when we are in the space.) Evaluate your printed materials; perhaps there are changes to be made.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes as they interact with your service or space and imagine their experience. What do they see? What do they feel? What would they expect?

Review your purpose and intention; has it changed? Is your presentation still relevant? Is your purpose still relevant?

At least once a year you should make sure that all the information you present is accurate. This includes phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and information on hours of operation that exist online, in print, and on voice recordings.

Although there are endless books and coaching techniques to help you clarify the content of your message, few resources are available that aid you in identifying and resolving what prevents clear communication of that message. For this reason, Transformational Speaking by Gail Larsen is my favorite book on the subject. She does an expert job of helping you identify what keeps you from a clear and empowered “voice.”

Elements of Your Message

We convey information and receive visual information on multiple levels. The tone of a message can be set or influenced by any or all of these variables.

Body movement gives us information about what someone is feeling and often signals to us any incongruity between what someone is saying and how they actually feel. Example: When we walk in a store and the sales person has her head glued to the computer screen and she says, “hello, can I help you?” we sense the disconnect between her words and her body’s message.

Physical hygiene from skin complexion, to hair cleanliness and neatness, to the grooming of facial hair, to posture, piercings and body odor are all visual cues that influence the message your client or customer receives.

Communication protocol is a weakness in many businesses. Inner conflict around living a plugged in life can create gaps in the thoughtfulness of your professional interactions. Take the time to make conscious choices about the time frame in which you return calls or emails, your preferred method of communication and your time frame of availability. State these policies and preferences clearly at the beginning of a business relationship.

Facial expressions can let us know what to expect when we anticipate engaging with someone. Example: As we wait in a line at a government office, and we see that the clerk who is going to help us is harried or in a bad mood, this will inform how we anticipate and prepare for the interaction.

Symbols provide cues about what we can expect in a situation. Examples: The face of a clock on a storefront sign lets us know we can expect to read about the hours of operation.  Objects and images can cue us as to what to expect from a business or in a space.

Visual design from colors, to fonts, to shapes, to uses of light and dark can influence our moods, our expectations, and our impression of a business. Example: A storefront that is painted in brilliant yellows and pinks lifts our spirits and indicates a playful experience or product inside the store.

Organization or disorganization of elements in the visual field set a tone and indicate to the visitor or customer how professional, competent, and focused you are. Clutter, confusion, and chaos in the visual field also detract from the visual message.

Are you enthusiastic about a launching a new product or service, but feeling averse to marketing your creative idea? Perhaps you’ve discovered that you are sabotaging yourself by failing to express your vision in a clear and compelling manner. If your message lacks clarity and focus, I can help you identify and eliminate self-sabotage that is hindering your ability to communicate with enthusiasm and authenticity.