Soul Business Blog 1- Message first, method last

DSC_6126Soul Business is an ethos to inspire and enable people, business and organisations to communicate better by connecting deeper.

Right, this one is dead simple.

The first thing we need to do is take control and focus on the most important facet of communications which is to get your message out there.

Basically, we’ve never had it so good in communications.

We can connect with almost anyone anywhere in the world instantaneously – quite often free or cheap once we’ve bought the tech we need – and most of it is portable so it can be done on the move.

There are more methods of communication than ever before. Ipods, Ipads, smart phones, Bluetooth, the whole digital media explosion has brought tremendous changes to the way we communicate.

We can do things that were unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago before we could go online, used email, had websites to manage let alone visit and connected with people via social media.

Research meant going to the library, keeping carefully indexed records and getting on the phone to find things out, make the most of contacts and build business relationships.

Now we can do it all at the touch of a keyboard, phone or other portable device.

And the pace of change is getting faster and won’t slow down. Innovation drives innovation and the appetite and ability to create change is insatiable – and rightly so. New methods are constantly coming on stream.

But there’s an ironic downside.

It is burning us out and, perversely, swallowing up our time when it should do the opposite.

There are greater expectations on us to communicate quickly and proficiently – often around the clock. It is changing our habits and attention span.

Don’t believe me? When was the last time you watched a TV programme without checking your phone? What about when you’re out for a meal or spending time with those you love?

What about checking your phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Before saying good morning or good night to see your partner, maybe? Hang on, didn’t I hear you say that’s who you’re doing it for? How does that work?

This pressure leads to many of us commiting a cardinal communications sin – to merely manage the methods rather than focusing on the quality of the message we’re sending out.

The need for speed and efficiency to say something – anything – is pressing and demanding so it usually wins priority over time taken on the quality of message.

But faster doesn’t = better.  It puts the cart before the horse.  

The focus should be message first, method last.

Small wonder people and businesses grumble that no one seems to ‘get’ what they’re about – or that they can’t reach the ‘right’ people. Too often their communications activity is unfocused and not targeted.

Too much time is spent on the wrong things. If you get the message right, you can bend the methods around the message to make it clear, consistent and effective.

So folks, I’m freeing you up for guilt-free communicating.

You don’t have to keep a running diary of your life. Who cares where you’re going for a drink or meal? Saying the wrong things because the need for speed seems to demand it leads to a sense of fear and failure – feeling over-worked, fatigued, beat up, battered, confused.

All this is compounded by equally confused ‘marketing gurus’ whose true aim is to make people feel inadequate so they can convert them to their new magic marketing bullet. 

In reality they probably don’t know what they’re doing either – there are loads of great social media marketers out there who will offer similar advice to Soul Business – I’d recommend you to try one of these! 

So here is the first rule of Soul Business – take the weight off your shoulders.

Focus on the message first – deal with the method later.

Get your message right and story straight – and by messaging I don’t just mean words, phrases and slogans but visual elements such as branding, logos, infographics, photography and video.

Then you can plan, schedule and prioritise your communications – you’re in control.

You can then communicate with clarity and purpose. And that’s exactly what the best organisations do – they deal in big bold messages and present a clear vision in order to connect with their audience(s).

Why not join them?

Chris Green is an award-winning author and broadcaster – and managing partner of Chris Green Media – which inspires organisations to communicate better by connecting deeper.