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Retention issues? Three ways to deliver a message that people actually remember


Retention issues? Three ways to deliver a message that people actually remember


If you want people to remember your message, then you need to make it memorable. If your audience can’t remember your message, it isn’t that they have a retention issue; it’s that you have a communication issue, says Shane Michael Hatton.

Shane Hatton BW 150Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix once said, ‘people aren’t too stupid to listen; rather, you made it too complicated to understand’. A great message is easy to remember and hard to forget. Your idea should be succinct enough that people can recall it while being stimulating enough that it is hard for them to forget. In order to do that, it needs to connect at three different levels. 


Does your message make people think?

Your message should make sense in itself and cause people to think about it in a positive way. If it’s too complex to understand, people are less likely to think about it and more likely to discard it. Like a great song that gets stuck in your head, you should be able to remember the words and make sense of what you are singing.

Psychological tests would suggest that at any one time the average person is able to recall (or hold in their working memory) around seven separate objects or ideas, plus or minus two. This only makes the case that your message should be succinct and simple. Your message should also have a single focus. Don’t try to add too many ideas into one message or it’s likely people won’t remember any of them. 


Does your message make people feel?

Your message should evoke a response at an emotional level. People should be able to hear it and think about it but also feel something at a deeper level as they hear or read the words. Does your message have a rhythm and flow off the tongue easily?

Language really matters. What words have you chosen to communicate your idea? Like an artist working with a palette, choose the words that fit best with one another and create a flow. A message that resonates in us and creates an emotional impact is much more likely to stay with us. 


Does your message make people act?

Great messages have an aspirational quality to them. They don’t just make a person think or feel; they inspire them to take action. When they hear, think and feel, they’ll want to walk away and do. The best message is one that you can adopt today and yet spend your whole life living by or aspiring to. 


If you can craft a message that makes people think and feel, it is more likely it will be catchy. If you can craft a message that makes people feel and do, it is more likely to be compelling. And if you can craft a message that makes people think and do, it is more likely to be constructive. The combination of all three is exponentially more potent.

Shane Michael Hatton is a leadership and communication expert and author of Lead the Room – Communicate a Message That Counts in Moments That Matter.


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Image credit:Fredy Jacob


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