As communicators, we feel vindicated. Big time.
In a summer 2014 issue of Fast Company, no less an intellectual celebrity than the current president of Harvard, historian Drew Gilpin Faust, admitted she was bewildered and challenged by communicating messages in a large organization. Her solution? Say them again and again and again.
We wonder, though, if the good Doctor truly embraced the concept of different repetitions. Training gurus will tell you to communicate the same thing six different ways – through pictures, spoken and written word, demonstrations, teaching, and activities, for example – for stickiness. Plus they’ll also point out the difference between learning and mastering repetition. Think of a nascent marathoner who’s figuring out, with help, the right ways to run. That’s the learning part of the equation. Then contrast that with a seasoned miler who’s perfecting his/her technique to win that race. Voila: Mastery!
With us, though, the issue with repetition is boredom. It’s an imperative of our and any business that, with new information, strategies, benefits, changes, we better understand it in order to spread the messages. Invariably, though, we get fatigued, tired of the same-old, same-old and yearn for the novel. So we quit, perhaps earlier than the sixth iteration.
The same thing sometimes occurs with our advertising brethren. The client or the agency or whomever decides that ‘enough is enough’ and shifts the campaign, even though it might just have started to work. Even though not enough eyes and ears have been exposed. And so on+.
Guess we’re becoming Walt Whitman: “Do I repeat myself? Very well then, I repeat myself.”