Instant messaging has brought in a new challenge for communications. Make a text, email, or memo too long and most of it will likely go unread by its recipient. Smartphones and social media are regarded as the perpetrators of this trend toward short attention spans, and rightfully so. Even music streaming platforms such as Spotify are credited with the shortening of the average pop song. The Internet chipping away at our average attention spans is a defining trend of our times. This means organizations are having to adapt their communications to partake in the ‘attention economy’. In doing so, the key is to develop strategic communications that are short and sweet across all platforms.
Find Your Keyword
Keywords are not only for SEO and digital advertising. Finding a word or phrase which encompasses your organization’s ethos, goal, and essence can do wonders for your campaign. Barack Obama’s iconic “Hope” campaign is a case in point for how powerful a one-word slogan can be. But here is the caveat: Your slogan can only be, at most, slightly better than the product you are selling. If Obama did not promote his candidature with electrifyingly optimistic speeches and wicked charisma, then his slogan might have seemed overzealous and vapid. Realize that you are a stakeholder of your organization’s essence and embody it.
Know Your Audience
As always, know your audience. One of the advantages of instant global communication is that it has done away with barriers. No one is too far to be reached out to and no group too small. But this does not mean the end of all obstacles. Many groups across the globe continue to face racial and systemic barriers that hinder their liberties and their wellbeing. Linguistically and culturally sensitive language can make a difference in reaching certain people and connecting with them effectively.
Lend an Ear
The primary pitfall of faster communications is that we simply become worse listeners in turn. Fostering the right environment in your workplace or with your audience can start with actively listening to members of your cohort. Contrary to popular belief, this can be done without jeopardizing a professional relationship’s nature or being intrusive. Harvard sociologist Mario Luis found that people confided their worries with those they were not as close to over half the time. Giving people a time and place to express themselves by listening to them can boost a group’s morale, trust, and confidence. To give people a chance, all you have to do is lend an ear.
We often applaud the fact that anyone can have a platform nowadays, but that puts more emphasis on what one has to say than on what they can gain by listening. Modern communications require you to keep an open mind and your sentences short. In turn, this allows you to be more incisive and benevolent. Less is more. Learn how to take advantage of that.