4 tests every message should pass before you hit send

29 July 2020

By Graeme Cook


If we want to make a difference — in and out of the office — we need our messages to stick. 

Whether it’s with colleagues, clients, friends or family, if we’re trying to explain something important, it’s vital that what we say and write are structured in a way that gives them the best chance of having a positive impact.  

In business for instance, you want your brand to stand out and be desired; you want your audiences to get excited about what you’re doing and stand for. From TV commercials to social media ads, getting every message on that customer journey to pop is vital.

But this isn’t exclusive to marketing. 

Emails and texts are two forms of day-to-day messaging that should pass the same tests if they’re to conjure the intended response or action. 

So, when you’re writing your next Teams post or preparing a PowerPoint deck, stop to see how they stand up against our four-point checklist.


1: Is it simple? 

We know from working in the world of share plans, reward, governance and compliance, business subjects are often complex, but when you have the chance to simplify, do it. If we write stories and messages that a 10-year-old would understand, everyone will get it. Stripping the complicated back to its most basic form shows real confidence and understanding of a topic — and is a skill your audience will thank you for. 


2: Is it relevant?

Messages should be useful to your audience, so before hitting send on your next department-wide email, think about the information you’re communicating and if it passes the ‘what’s in it for me?’ test with everyone on the distribution list. The interests of one group may be completely different from another, so where possible, develop versions of your message that make it useful to that segmented audience. Relevant messages work because they engage, connect and add value, whereas irrelevant messages only serve to erode influence.


3: Is it authentic?

Messages that sound unnatural and contrived are likely to fall flat. For instance, when you’re next on LinkedIn, think about the language you use in your posts and interactions.  Are you speaking normally, or have you developed a tone of voice that you think ‘LinkedIn professionals’ should sound like? If so, be careful, because this can quickly turn into wall-to-wall corporate cliches and jargon, immediately turning people off. If you believe in what you’re writing and it’s done in a way that’s true to you, it stands a much better chance of resonating with others and kick-starting meaningful conversations.


4: Is it timely?

As William Morris put it: “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful.” So remember, no matter how cool your content looks or how well structured your message is, when it’s sent at the wrong time, it will ultimately fail. If you’re looking to inspire action from a recipient, think about the best time they’d like to receive it and don’t forget time zones! Sending a last minute email request at the perfect time in the UK is likely to be too late for Singapore and too early for the US.


So, in conclusion…

Writing or articulating messages that are clear, concise, tell a story and pack a punch, can be a lot trickier than you think. 

But by taking a step back and analysing your communications against these four tests, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of landing them as you’d hope. 

A little thought can go a long way — and in no time you’ll find your engagement levels with colleagues, clients, friends and family going through the roof.


Feeling inspired but need support with your complex messaging? 

Eximia can help elevate you and your team as strategic and dynamic experts, so email us at: hi@eximiacomms.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)20 7420 1984 to start the conversation.

Graeme Cook

Head of Communications

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