Speak as if You Cannot be Heard


The challenges faced by folks such as the gentleman in this video are well known. In this fast-moving, stop for nothing world it takes an awful lot to get somebodies attention, no less to inspire them to take action. In 2007 the NY Times was quoted as saying the average American is bombarded with 5,000 messages per day. Let's face it, the trend is not headed downwards. Faced with this deluge of information is it any wonder that much of what we say and write is never processed at all?

Though it may sound peculiar, the gentleman depicted in the video is every bit a business man- his goal is to market himself; his goal is to make a living as best he can. By changing the words on his sign the message went from background noise to a powerful statement; a statement that resonated clearly with people who otherwise would have passed right by…

We face the same challenges in our marketing efforts- we know our audience, the types of messaging they respond to and where they are likely to look for these messages but we must compete with all the other information that they encounter. Being heard is not as easy as it seems.

Perhaps it's time to speak as if we cannot be heard. I am referring to speaking as a means of conveying your message either verbally, visually or otherwise. Consider this- in the video the latter message is one the passers-by could relate to; they can SEE the day is beautiful and they are trying to imagine what it would be like not to. The visceral connection created by this message commanded their attention. It's as if the words were not meant to be read (surely the blind could not see them), but to be felt.

When we construct our message as if we knew it would not be heard we are forced to reach deeper- deeper into our intent as well as the psyche of the recipient. This introspection can result in a message that resonates at a visceral level; those for whom it is intended will feel the message. I challenge you to give it a go; maybe you already are.

My sincere thanks to Andrea Gardner of purplefeather, the creator of this video. Their "Change Your Words Change Your World" campaign serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that words can have.


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