While I was conducting a seminar in Connecticut this past week, I was asked a very interesting question by one of the attendees: “When you have a lot information to present, how do you keep the audience focused on the critical information without losing their interest?”
In the world of training, we choose our visual aids wisely. It’s been said: “What people hear, they forget. What people see, they remember.” Good advice, but what if we put too many visual aids in a presentation? Wouldn’t our audience become numb to what they are seeing?
In the world of selling, we choose the benefits of our solution wisely. Benefits reflect specific value to our clients, focusing on exactly what the client wants our solution to do; not what we like best about our solution. If we bury our clients in features that are irrelevant, or advantages that are meaningless, aren’t we actually devaluing the recommendation we are making?
That leads me to a rather personal issue. What about how we use social media to communicate with our clients and friends? Facebook, and LinkedIn are wonderful tools, but how many of us have cursed the day when we’ve accepted a friend request from a good meaning acquaintance? We find out that this acquaintance has decided to use this social media site to inform us of every bike ride, walk in the park, or morsel of food that enters his or her mouth? We move through the stages of frustration, irrelevance, and eventually “hiding” every communication these people post. Sadly, because of the inundation of information, we’ve shut them out and we may miss an important piece of information they may post.
And therein lies the problem. Today marks the two-year anniversary of the BLArticle®. For 104 weeks in a row, a BLArticle® has appeared faithfully on its website. With well over 1,000 visits a week, this hybrid form of communication has allowed me to reach out and communicate with my friends, clients, colleagues, and countless others.
Fear not! The BLArticle® isn’t going anywhere, but after dispensing advice to so many, it’s time for me to take my own advice. When we over-communicate, we run the risk of numbing our audience to our message, devaluing our message, and ultimately posting information that will never be seen.
One of the greatest gifts that you, my readers, have given me, are your posts. Those posts tell me that you care, you’ve connected to a message, and that the message mattered. However, you have not seen the dreaded “unsubscribes” from well-meaning people. They almost always list the same exact reason for their decision to leave – the frequency of delivery. Many of us receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails in a day. One more email a week, for many, appears to be too many. The fact is, posting a weekly BLArticle® creates a risk of over communicating.
Therefore, on this illustrious anniversary, BLArticles® will be posted every other week on an experimental basis. Some have told me: “I wake up on Fridays, and I look forward to reading those BLArticles®!” My response: “Hang in there, grab another cup of coffee, drop by the BLArticle® site, and dig into some BLArticles from the past. But remember the reason for this change and perhaps you can apply this thought to your world:
“Emphasize everything… emphasize nothing.”
See you in two weeks!