The day we stopped listening

stoppedThe problem with rote or clichéd communication is one of attention. When your audience stops listening, the urgency of the situation—the consequence of success or failure —is lost.

It’s obvious: When one stops listening, the relationship is damaged. This is true in business, community service, religious or other affiliations, and, obviously, family relationships.

A recent LinkedIn blog post summed it up nicely. Jeff Haden wrote, “Fall in love with a word or expression and not only do other people tire of it, they start to hear nothing else. Then whatever you hoped to get across gets lost as they think, Oh jeez, for once could he leave out the ‘that’s neither here nor there’?”

Did you hear what I said?
Got kids? Been a kid? Know a kid?

Shut the door, turn off the lights. Get off the phone. Finish your dinner. Pick up your clothes, make your bed. Shut the door—did you hear what I said? How often have you been the subject of, or voice behind, those words? Typically spoken in a loud and/or complaining tone. Often, referring to something you’ve said—or been told—many times. And, even when it works, it’s usually temporary.

Why? We stopped listening. Why? We’ve heard it before.

Whether we use a cliche that’s been minted and circulated, or a personal fave, results are the same. Ineffective communication.

In business, even branding runs the risk of rote communications. That’s why it must be thoughtful, creative. How can we communicate a consistent message in a powerful way?

Volvo has long been associated with safety. Once made, we associate Volvo with other good things. But I didn’t know that they laid claim to the three-way safety belt. See how they took their historic message, and kept it fresh.

Creativity, visual or written, contributes to effective communication, which is all about being heard. Did you hear what I said?

Posted by Frank J. Mendelson | Best Practices, Business, Business Communications, Marketing, About Us, Communications | Comments 0 |
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