“Be the Message and Communicate in Any Medium” is adapted from Helena’s June Communication Culture Column for The Afro News.
When we prepare to communicate with others, we now have a lot of choices on the “medium.” Is it going to be a pen and paper, a text, a phone call, an email, a public social media post or a private in-mail to get your individual message across?Often the technology you choose determines the length and nature of your “conversation” with another person. It is a conversation isn’t it? Even if it is just you alone, pecking away at your message on a keyboard, or phone pad.
For all of us, especially those for whom communicating to someone “out there” and not in voice of visual contact, it’s useful to remember that you are always talking to only ONE real person at a time. This is true even if you are sending a mass mailing out to a list or posting or tweeting.
When your message is received, it is always read or heard and interpreted by one person at a time, each and every time.
What remains consistent in the communication is YOU.
How people perceive your message, or you, is not under your control. You can, however, control how you present yourself in the message you create and then send out into the world.
Be the message
The impression you make affects people in person, in print or online. Just as you spend time assembling the pieces when you “dress” yourself, you are smart to take responsibility for the elements that make up your messages.
To be successful you’ll have to define who you are clearly. Best to start by telling yourself this!
What drives you? What result do you want to attain? How do you want to be perceived? What lasting impression do you want to make on people?
Once fortified by your meaningful direction, present yourself in a credible and consistent way across all media.
- When you speak, write or post, pay attention to your word choice – do they paint an accurate and clear picture of what you have decided above?
- Are you confident that the words that will describe you 24/7 when you are not there, will influence, attract or represent you well to your intended audience?
- Be authentic so that people can rely on you and see you as distinct from others. People want to recognize and relate to you, your values and your personal story. You want them to remember you.
Be real yet refined
I’ve added refined due to my life in Vancouver and experiencing anonymity after a lifetime of a public work life in my home town. I noticed the casual style that exists here. The preference to casual is certainly evident in many North American business and social communities. The good news is that people are free to express their individuality through personal style. People can dress for their physical comfort and they can just “let it all hang out.”
The bad news is that this image choice in messaging isn’t always good for your social or financial benefit.
“The take me as I am” approach applies to communication as well as clothing. In today’s modern mix of cultures and economies, much will be tolerated, even forgiven; however, do you want to risk being misunderstood? Or worse, overlooked as an individual or as an organization?
Be purposeful in how you represent yourself. You will profit from a great first impression and clear follow up message.
‘Embody’ your message, consistently and clearly and you’ll be identifiable and memorable. As a result, you’ll benefit from any context.
Your ‘To Go’ message about presentation is that people will perceive you as you have designed in your message. Do hear your own words and understand how they impact your intended readers and listeners. You will affect how they hear, see or think about you!