Experts in Front Line Leadership

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Is There Melody in Your Message?

Sometimes I catch myself humming Christmas carols in July or repeating the chorus from the latest overplayed pop song on the radio. Usually it is the basic melodies that are the easiest to recall and repeat. Pure music lovers likely can get lost in complex melodies while the rest of us hum our happy tune.

Message Muddled with Corporate Speak

Most organizations and industry groups have a verbal shorthand that is part of their culture. This lingo helps speed up communication among like minded people. At the executive and management level in an organization you may hear words like metrics, competencies, EBITDA, supply chain, and customer relationship management.

The challenge comes in delivering this information to the rest of the organization where they perceive it as gobbly-gook. You could force everyone to learn this complex music like taking classical music appreciation class. Or you could make the message more melodic.

Make Your Message More Melodic

  • Instead of making the message more complex, strip it down to its essence. What are you trying to say?
  • Use a visual example – paint a picture that helps make the message more memorable. Relate the visual to something everyone can relate to. In his book Good to Great, author Jim Collins had a look of excellent content, however what most executives remember is “Get the right people on the bus”, “and then make sure the right people are in the right seats.”
  • Repeat the message. The chorus of a song usually repeats at least three times. A simple melody repeated many times becomes catchy and that’s what you want your message to be, isn’t it?

When people can’t remember your message, is it their fault or yours? The responsibility for clarity is the primary responsibility of the sender. Work on your melody and your employees may just end up whistling a happy tune.

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