Everyone expects us to say we're good at what we do. So banging our own drum doesn't get us heard, doesn't make us stand out. What does get heard is when we use the words of others - when our customers tell their story of how we have helped them and added value to their business.
We don't pick up a newspaper for the ads. We don't watch TV for the commercials. So why do we think our target market will respond to a 'hard sell'. People want information - and if we can share knowledge that is genuinely useful to potential clients, our message will cut through and be heard.
“Learn 5 statistics” – that was one of the first, and as it turns out, the best pieces of advice I was given when I took on my first business leadership role. Having statistics and facts at my fingertips was a highly effective way of building credibility. Well researched and well used facts and evidence are always heard. They give us and our message authority and integrity and speak to the part of the decision maker’s brain that justifies a decision.
If we want to make sure we are heard, understood and actioned by our audience, we need to connect with them on an emotional level, not just factual. Research shows that decisions are made on emotion, then rationalised based on facts.
You wouldn't spend long in a social situation with someone who just talked about themselves and showed no interest in you. So why is it that in business, we forget these communication conventions and simply shout about 'me, me, me'?
We all listen to messages that we think are just for us - just like we hear our name over the chatter of a cocktail party. To be heard, we have to ensure that we are aiming our message at a very specific, often quite narrow audience.