Does your organization have too much to say? In fact, too much great thinking can be too much of a good thing. With the start of a new year – and a new decade – it may be that you need to clear the clutter in your messaging. Many organizations, particularly those with lots of smart people, have a hard time articulating their value proposition in clear, concise ways to the outside world. But message management, like time management, can be improved with some organizational discipline:  setting a few priorities can go a long way toward clearing the clutter.  January is the perfect time to make a change or do a gut-check – particularly as you approach your 2010 social media and communications planning.

First, resolve to be specific. Avoid saying nothing – or nothing meaningful – in the hopes of covering everything. For example, take sustainability. Everyone wants to make sure the world knows that their organization is focused on sustainability or “thinking green.” But what does your organization have to say that is truly different from the next guy down the street?  Do you have new information about negotiating green contracts?  Does your technology help to quantify or measure carbon reductions?  Do you have new statistics, research or case studies to drive proof of your “green” accomplishments in your public relations program?  Do you have an opinion that reflects new thinking, and you’re ready to put your stake in the ground in regards to a high profile debate?   If you are a commercial real estate firm, your take on sustainability should be different than the local economic development corporation, which should be different from a law firm or a consulting firm.  Know your niche – and be specific in the information and thought leadership that is shared with the public under the banner of your organization.

Here are five ways to clarify your messaging that could make the difference between common banter and sought-after thinking in the marketplace.

Five Communications Clutter Reduction Tips:

  • Define five core messages.  Five is generally enough to cover what your organization can truly deliver.  Be disciplined in paring down broad thinking to meaningful points on narrower topics.
  • Support your business strategy.  Make sure your pithy sound bites have actual bite – and will be memorable enough to the right people, to help to drive results.
  • Smart does not equal strategic. Lots of smart people contribute great things – but not everything has a role in external messaging.  Look at your firm from the outside in, and make the tough choices about who speaks on what topics to the outside world.
  • Know your audience. Know what they read, what they watch, what they click.  Information must be meaningful to the people who will do a deal with you.  Make sure the topics and messages you choose will resonate with top decision-makers.

There are many ways to create and implement strong messaging, including media training to back up a strategic messaging philosophy.

Bottom line:  Escape from the irony of having too much to say – clear the clutter in your organization’s messaging, and let your great thinking shine through.

How do you plan to clear your messaging clutter?


To contact Margy Sweeney:

Phone: 312-252-7314
Twitter: @margysweeney
LinkedIn: Margy Sweeney