Paul McGee, aka The Sumo Guy, spoke to one of our Mastermind Groups and highlighted an issue many of us face daily – how to make yourself heard in a congested world of noisy communications.
During his workshop titled “How to communicate with influence and impact”, he gave a wealth of ideas but one in particular, as evidenced by the title of this weeks four-i, is to write headlines for all your messages that stand out, or dare I say up? Of course the headline can’t be spurious, it must be relevant, and no doubt some of you are now wondering where this is heading so let me explain.
A few years ago, following a particularly heavy month of rain, the Head of Cemeteries, (yes this is a real position), of Bromwich Council, faced a serious issue – landslips were causing headstones to move, indeed there was one incident where a bereaved woman laying flowers on her husband’s grave had a tombstone fall on her – luckily her injuries weren’t too bad but you can just imagine….well, let’s not go there. Anyway, up to that point his messages to colleagues, about the dangerous state of several graveyards, was falling on deaf ears and hence, in order to grab their attention, he sent an email with the subject line: “Monumental erections and how to keep yours up!” It had the desired effect.
Another of our expert speakers offered an extension to this idea – write your communications like a newspaper journalist writes an article. Start with the headline, include a picture, summarise in the first paragraph and then gradually add more detail. This allows the recipient to quickly decide whether they need to read the whole message or just skim to get the general gist. This helpful approach to email requires effort but the dividend is that your messages will be read – and right now there’s a body of evidence that less than 10% are.