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Can You Hear Me NOW?                      

I’m sure most of you recognize this insidious (and annoying) phrase used in a current cellular service provider’s ad campaign. Hate it though we may, most of us have abused it for our own purposes with family and friends.

Unfortunately, it is effective—it cuts through the clutter and embeds itself in our psyches. In our busy, over-messaged lives, it can be a real challenge to have your intended audience hear what you want to convey.

To get through, not only do you need to provide information of value to the targeted audience, but you need to couch it in a way that interests, intrigues, informs, entertains, enlightens, surprises or in some way catches their attention. And, you need to speak the language of your audience. I’m not talking, ¿Habla español?; I am referring to tone, vernacular and level of expected formality.

Ever meet your business banker and greet him or her with a hearty, “Hey, Dude!” (Well, I bank at Washington Mutual, so that might fly, but generally it would not.) Similarly, you would probably not promote computer servers or oilfield equipment with “lifestyle” text extolling the range of colors in which the products are available. The reader would shut down as fast as a teenager getting fashion advice from the parents.

So, if you want your message to engage your readers or listeners, think from their point of view. Address a subject that interests them. Contribute valuable information about that topic. Speak to them in the way they speak to you.

Try this and see how well you can connect with your audience. They’ll feel understood. You’ll feel heard. And you won’t be compelled to scream, “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

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