How To Make Your Message More Memorable
We won't be effective communicators if our target audience forgets what we say. Being recognizable is crucial for effective communication.
I recently asked experts in food and nutrition what aspects of effective communication they needed to focus on the most. Being intriguing and memorable were tied for third place on their list. Being straightforward and succinct were ranked #1 and second, respectively.
How Can We Leverage What We Already Know About Memory To Make Communication Memorable?
You want audiences to engage with your ideas, remember them, and be able to share them with others once they have heard them. You also want audiences to be able to access your communications. Your messages must therefore be portable and remembered.
Making your messaging memorable requires looking for elements that draw the interest of your target consumers, encouraging them to continue the conversation and inquire about your concepts.
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There are a number of well-known approaches designed to achieve these goals. Still, a recurring theme in all of them is to highlight what you discovered to be unexpected, novel, intriguing, or distinct from existing thoughts on the policy issue.
Try to make your communications memorable so that viewers will recall them and spread the word to others on their social networks. They must be easily re-tellable, or what we refer to as “portable,” in addition to being memorable for the individual. This notion of easily transportable or communicable messages fits with Gladwell's (2000) viral concept of how good ideas spread: first from the source, then from people who have been “infected” to those they connect with, and so on.
Less Is More
Our working (or short-term) memory has finite storage space. A relatively minimal quantity of visual and aural stimulation can be absorbed and processed by a person at any given time. Prioritizing and reducing the information offered will make communicators more memorable and successful. Eliminate information that might be great and emphasize what people should know.
Make It Significant
People need to connect new information and what they already know and comprehend to keep it in long-term memory. Use language, imagery, and examples that the audience will understand. Ensure that they understand the message. Don't stop until you get it right.
We are described as feeling creatures who think more than thinking beings who feel. A message is more memorable when it touches a person's emotions than just providing information. Storytelling is a tried-and-true technique for stirring up emotion. Does your messaging contain a narrative?
Give A Contrast
Look at the photo up above. Which apple is the best? When something is presented in a way that causes us to notice it because it differs from what is around it, this is referred to as the Von Restorff Effect.
Different delivery methods, such as comedy, demonstration, film, or interactive activity, can help you provide contrast. It can also be as easy as speaking more slowly, pausing to think, or speaking louder or softer. How can your message stand out from the countless others your audience encounters and hears daily? Dare to be unique.
First And Last, Say This
According to research, people tend to recall the first and last words spoken more than the middle. The primacy and recency effects are what is used to describe this. Make sure your opening and closing statements are effective. Draw in your audience immediately, and then make your point at the end. Memory is also improved by using a method that connects your opening and closing sentences.
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Say It Once More
Repetition is an effective memory aid. Anything worth saying is worth saying again. Again, say it.
Make It Your Own
What is personally helpful is what individuals remember the most. The audience will be driven to pay attention, absorb, and apply your message if it fills a need or addresses a problem in their lives. It is remembered when a message is put into action. Find out what your audience wants, then communicate in a way that gives them the tools they need to address issues.
Make Statistics Engaging
The foundation of many corporate presentations is data and facts. But unless they are experts in that particular field, most individuals find it challenging to understand the relevance of figures. Additionally, it becomes challenging for us to comprehend huge numbers. We tune out as a result.
When describing the effects of the Nazi Enigma machine to the scientists at Bletchley Park in The Imitation Game, MI6 agent, Stewart Mingis solves this issue. He inquires, “Do you know how many servicemen have perished because of Enigma.” “Three. During our discussion. I see another now. I sincerely hope he wasn't a family man.
Mingis could have just informed them that the Enigma machine killed thousands of people. But by making the problem urgent, real, and personal, he intensifies the impact.
Is It As Brief As Possible Without Being Any Shorter?
Your core point will be more straightforward for you to convey and more accessible for your audience to understand and remember if it is brief. There is such a thing as too little, though. Meaning shouldn't be sacrificed for brevity. A good benchmark is the 140-character limit of a Twitter message.
Is There A Message There?
Your presentation's subject is not its main point. You can ensure you aren't blending the two by making sure your main message has a verb.
Your theme might be “Recording health and safety occurrences,” for instance. By changing “recording” into a verb, change that into a key message: “We must document every health and safety event.”
“How you can make our workplace safer” is a more subtly worded illustration of a topic that passes for a crucial message. Although it has a verb, it doesn't convey anything to the reader. What is the most important message I want to convey to the audience regarding enhancing workplace safety?
Is The Language Spoken?
The language we use when speaking and writing is different from one another. Your main point should be communicated orally. A written language sample is provided below: “Educators should make the most of technology's possibilities in the classroom.” The phrase “Teachers can make better use of technology” might sound like this.
Is It Concrete And Specific?
Your main point should be clear to your audience. They won't if it is filled with jargon or vague, conceptual words. For instance, this statement may be changed to “Adding cycleways and walkways will minimize pollution” instead of “Implementing urban planning principles will ensure that this roading project is sustainable.”
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Does It Make A Point That Your Audience Is Unaware Of?
Your audience is looking for new information. Don't offer them cliches and clichés. The important message, “People are our greatest asset,” was developed by a course participant. Yawn! I particularly enquired as to what she meant. “As we've evolved, we've needed different types of individuals,” she said in her central thesis. A lot more intriguing.
This does not need you to think of an intelligent response. If you think of anything brilliant, there's a chance your audience won't understand it. Otherwise, they'll take a few seconds to figure out what you meant and miss what you said. Cleverness is secondary to clarity in oral presentations.
Test Your Main Point
There are several ways to determine whether your main message is memorable.
- Can you remember it first? You must be able to speak it verbally without consulting your notes. Take a test.
- Say it to a buddy to see if they can repeat it to you. They might repeat it to you in a way that is simpler for you to understand. If so, then modify it.
- Ask your friend if they can still remember an hour later.
- Then locate another buddy and ask if they can recall it a day later. If they can, congratulations—you've got a vital message that will stick with people.
Advocates employ a variety of strategies for this, and the five that are most frequently employed to make messages more enduring and portable are examined in greater detail below:
- Titles that stick in the mind
- surprising and attention-grabbing facts that stand out
- Analytical narratives help make your analysis more human
- Providing the language to be used for the target audience
- Images and graphical/visual data display
Titles That Stick In The Mind
Simply put, we intend “sticky” to mean mainly remembered.
You are attempting to think of titles that instantly strike a chord with the target audiences and are, therefore, portable and easily memorable. Sticky titles can also help you communicate your main points or, at the very least, pique the curiosity of your target audience so they will read more of your advocacy suggestions.
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The title of a study by the European Stability Initiative on the thriving economic environment in Turkey's Central Anatolia is an excellent illustration: “Islamic Calvinists.” The paper aimed to challenge a simplistic and uninformed narrative about Turkey propagated in Western Europe in discussions about its future EU membership.
Almost everyone who reads or hears about the paper recalls the title because of the unusual word combination that makes up the title. In reality, it was something that people from the region called themselves, that is, they are Muslims but with a Protestant work ethic and not something that the European Stability Initiative established.
Surprising And Attention-Grabbing Facts That Stand Out
Focusing on items you discovered that were unexpected or stunning is an essential strategy for creating memorable advocacy messaging.
This relates to how you choose and emphasize the quantitative or qualitative data you discovered throughout your study that is so important or shocking that decision-makers cannot ignore them.
In contrast to the publicly available statistic of just 3 percent, a policy fellow recently conducted research in Bosnia and Herzegovina and discovered that the percentage of non-implementation of constitutional court decisions was 9 percent. 3 Policymakers and individuals alike could not ignore this statistic and fact.
Analytical Narratives Help Make Your Analysis More Human
Building the message around the story of the individuals affected by public policy and supporting it with your analysis of facts is the next crucial strategy for making difficult or technical findings more understandable, memorable, and transferable.
4 Stories about people impacted by a particular policy might serve as a helpful reminder to decision-makers that policies are made by people and for people. Therefore, one of the key skills that academics should cultivate for their advocacy work is the ability to humanize data. The article from the European Stability Initiative titled “Islamic Calvinists” illustrates this strategy well.
The paper's main focus was on the role played by the public and private sectors in the growth of Central Anatolia's largest furniture company. Instead of focusing on statistics about the area's growth, it told a memorable tale about how this incredibly successful company came to be—of course, with data to back it up.
Give The Words To Employ To The Target Audience
Often, coming up with compelling stories or facts is not enough; you also need your target consumers to use new vocabulary, pick up your terminology, or adopt your metaphors.
Once more, pay attention to the language that can appeal to the target audiences and think about using a memorable, portable phrase. This strategy can be beneficial and significant if the topic is novel to policymakers when trying to reframe the conversation and/or add a new angle to the discussion.
To Highlight Important Information, Use Graphics And Visual Presentations Of The Data
We never get over our juvenile propensity to glance at pictures when we read or hear presentations. They are the things that catch our attention, which causes us to recall and discuss them. The reader is drawn to that specific piece of data and is saved from having to search the text by having the main research findings shown as a graph or in another visual format. 5 Unsurprisingly, compelling facts are frequently presented visually if they are quantitative.
For instance, recent research from a policy fellowship program6 concluded that Bosnia and Herzegovina's judicial system was the most expensive and slowly operating in Europe!
The graph demonstrates that even when funds increased dramatically over five years, this did not affect the case backlog, which grew. The usual efficiency argument that the case backlog would decrease if additional money were made available is entirely refuted by this one graph, which paints a catastrophic picture.
Pictures of the people or locations that were the subject of the research undoubtedly personalize the discussion of policy, especially if you tell the tales of the individuals or locations in the pictures to make the debate memorable.
Even though a picture or graph may be worth a thousand words, you should still explain or tell a story to go along with it to make sure you make your point and reinforce it. By presuming that what is clear to you is likewise evident to your audience, you can avoid falling victim to the “but it's obvious” trap.
Checklist For Preparing Advocacy
Think about the messages you want to stress for each of your target audiences:
Catching Their Attention
Why do you think this target demographic will find your message compelling and interesting?
How and how much of their current attitudes, ways of thinking, or values have you addressed in the message?
Do your messages contain a good mix of threats and/or incentives?
Taking Into Account The Usefulness Of The Policy And Its Execution
- Does your message specifically address the concerns, problems, and issues your target stakeholder group is currently debating?
- Have you considered the facts (particularly difficulties and limitations) when formulating your policy proposal and recommendations?
- Do your key target audiences, particularly government officials, view your proposals as manifestly practical or practically implementable?
Facilitating Access To The Message
- Have you chosen ideas and terminology that the audience can quickly identify and comprehend?
- Do you need to make any parts of your message less complex for some audiences?
- Have you backed up your points with facts and examples that this audience would recognize and find credible?
Ensuring That The Message Is Transferable And Memorable
Are there any startling or unexpected facts or insights you can use to support your argument?
Can you back up your argument with an analytical tale, i.e., a case study that clearly and succinctly explains the problem and its solutions?
Can you illustrate your compelling fact or analytical tale using a graph or picture?
Is the title catchy or memorable if you're writing up your message or creating a policy presentation?
Think of a message you recently read or heard. What made it distinctive? Did it fit at least one of these criteria? Who are they?
How can your messages be more memorable? Which qualities of memorable communications should you use more frequently?
Making your messaging memorable requires attempting to identify things that pique the interest of your target audiences, causing them to interact more and ask questions about your ideas.
There are a variety of well-known ways to accomplish these goals. Still, a common thread runs through them all: stress what you discovered that was surprising, unexpected, fresh, fascinating, or distinct from existing policy thinking.
The goal of trying to make your communications memorable is for people to remember them and tell their friends about them. You must not only make them memorable for the person, but they must also be readily re-tellable or “portable.”
This notion of readily transportable or spreadable communications corresponds to Gladwell's (2000) viral theory of how excellent ideas spread: first from the source, then from those who have been “infected” to others they connect with, and so on.
I trust you enjoyed this article on How To Make Your Message More Memorable. Would you please stay tuned for more articles to come? Take care!
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