In a Distracted Environment Your Communication Must Be Varied

By Jeff Beals

I visited my alma mater last week and toured a brand-new facility that just opened on the first floor of the library. Back when I was in college, that entire floor was filled with thousands and thousands of books. When I really needed to concentrate, perhaps while studying for a big test, I would find a little corner on that floor. It was almost completely devoid of sound and just may have been the quietest place on Earth.

That has all changed. The rows and rows of dusty old books are long gone. Now the first floor is a hive of activity. Hundreds of trendy-looking tables and stools plus scores of ergonomically correct chairs fill the space. A Dunkin’ Donuts operates right in the middle. Hundreds of students were studying and talking.

The impressive renovations weren’t the only thing I noticed while walking around the new library commons: the students were extremely connected with technology while studying. Almost all of them had laptops open on their tables. Many were also using tablets and smart phones at the same time. In addition to all that technology, some students had old-fashioned text books in front of them. Studying is now a multimedia experience and a far-cry from my college days when the only thing on the table would have been a text book and some notebook paper.

I recently thumbed through a newsletter produced by Bozell advertising agency and a statistic jumped out at me: “78 percent of us use another device while simultaneously watching TV.”

I guess I wasn’t surprised to read that, because it feels as if I’m always using one of my devices, while television has become omnipresent. Everywhere you go there’s a television playing. Even at home while taking it easy, it’s common to have a television on in the background while you’re working on your laptop and texting someone on your phone.

Whether we’re talking about college students studying or any of us spending time at home, one thing is clear: we are pulled in many different directions and many different stimuli are competing for our attention.

In other words, we are quite distracted these days.

We now live in the loudest and most cluttered marketplace in human history. So many messages compete for your attention. We have unprecedented access to information, both journalistic and commercial.

If you make your living by marketing a company or selling products and services, it takes a great deal of effort to cut through the clutter and grab someone’s attention.

If you are a company or person looking to get your message across, you now have a lot of choices. On the other hand, all the clutter in the communication environment means it is harder now for your message to be noticed than it was in the past.

What are the secrets to success in a more fragmented, cluttered and loud marketplace?

1.   Be disciplined and assertive in your communication efforts

2.   Go back to the fundamentals of good communication

In today’s marketplace, you must constantly put forth messages in a variety of channels – a mix of social media, internet, traditional media and good old face-to-face communication. Furthermore, the effort must be constantly sustained. You can’t take a day off. Worthwhile and attention-getting messages must spring forth constantly.

More importantly, the quality of the message matters more than how you release that message. In other words, the medium used to communicate with your target audience is just that – a medium. Whether you are using the phone, direct mail, newspapers, television, radio, email-based marketing, blogs, podcasts, social media engagement, door-to-door salesmen or carrier pigeons, the product or service must stand on its own merit. The message must be compelling on its own merit. Fundamentals matter. If your product/service has a viable market, it will sell.

Instead of fearing or dreading all the distractions your clients face, embrace the opportunity to reach people in multiple ways. As a person who has messages to convey and services to sell, the more communication channels I have, the better.

Regardless of the medium and where we might be at any given point in technological history, human beings are essentially the same. They make decisions based on what they value and do business with individuals and organizations they trust.

Sure it takes more work, and in many cases more staffing hours, to prepare messages for new media that pop up. But new communications vehicles open the possibility of reaching new people.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

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