Effective leaders know that in order to communicate urgency and importance, it takes much more than simply having a compelling message.
If you want a message that stirs people to action, it’s not only about what you say. Just as important who says it, how often you say it, and how and where you say it.
Who Says It…
If the message matters, it matters who delivers the message.
People attach importance to a message by the perceived level of authority of the person who delivers the message. After all, when the ship’s captain orders, “All hands on deck!” it will carry much more weight than if the same command were to be issued by a deck hand.
The corollary is also true; having the senior leader deliver too many messages can unwisely elevate mundane matters and lessen the impact of truly important messages.
Bottom line; if you’re in a position of senior leadership, focus on delivering the messages that truly matter.
How Often You Say It…
If the message matters, it bears repeating over, and over, and over and over…
It is estimated that people need to hear a message at least seven times before they will fully embrace it. In other words, having simply made an announcement, the leader’s job is just beginning. To ensure the importance of the message is grasped, leaders must embark on a communication marathon of constant repetition.
Effective leaders will alter the wording and freshen the message each time, but the central point remains intact; if the message matters, it must be repeated.
How and Where You Say It…
In today’s digital world, a great deal of leadership communication has been relegated to the domain of email and texting.
A basic rule of thumb is to render the least important communications to digital platforms and more moderately important messages to telephone, video conferencing or other forms of verbal platforms. But to convey that a message is of greatest importance, there is no substitute for a face to face conversation.
So much of a leader’s impact comes down to making sure people know the messages that really matter.
And so, to really ensure impact, choose the “Who”, “How Often” and the “How and Where” very carefully.
Because communicating matters of importance is about so much more than simply choosing the right words.