I’m not the world’s greatest cook. If I’m honest, I’m okay but no-one is going to get over excited about what I put on the table. Just ask my family if you think I’m being a little too self-deprecating.
I used to think steak was an incredibly easy meal; it’s one my daughter adores. Just grill it for a few minutes on either side, then serve. But it was always far too chewy to be appealing.
Then my brother-in-law told me about the need to rest the meat. The difference was extraordinary. A tough steak no-one in their right mind would want to ‘plough’ through was transformed into a moist melt-in-your mouth experience.
A little patience, giving it time to settle and rest, made all the difference. It’s a lesson I learnt the hard way, scraping the left overs into the bin once too often.
This might feel a little tangential, but the same is true with your corporate messages.
I’ve sat in plenty of meetings and off site workshops when, in the heat and excitement of the moment, we’ve exclaimed we’ve cracked it and articulated something radical and profound. Then later, when the adrenalin dissipates and we’ve looked again at what we’ve done, we think, eh?! What were we thinking!!
Taking the time to reflect, to let something settle is incredibly important. And when it comes to your key messages it’s particularly crucial.
I’ve run plenty of message workshops in which people get excited by what goes on the flip chart but when it comes to the output, collated and circulated the following week, they ‘feel’ it doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Following one of the most recent workshops I ran the client came away feeling the core messages about their own organization, the messages they had been working with for a couple of years, were weak. Reflected back through the eyes of an independent consultant, the messages suddenly felt flimsy, as if there was nothing of any substance. They felt they didn’t convey the depth and real substance of their offer. They felt they hadn’t really conveyed the elements that made then different, better than their competition.
Getting the messages right means articulating the way in which you meet your targets’ needs and desires. If you’re going to devise a matrix that will stand the test of time and provide you with a reference point for all your communication materials then you have to sit with your initial thoughts.
Just as you have to let your steak rest, you have to let the messages settle. After a few days of reflection, you’ll know if the messages really capture the way in which you deliver for your customers and clients; and if they don’t quite fit the bill you’ll have the perspective you need to evolve what they say and get them right for the long term.