At one point or another in our careers, we learn the importance of “messaging.”

“It’s the foundation of everything we do,” proclaim senior communicators.  “We need to ensure that we’re consistent and accurate in our statements,” insist agency brethren.  “And it’s the best way to spell out our uniqueness and differentiate us from the competition,” underscore marketers.

Sometimes the cry for re-messaging starts because of one specific event, say, an executive’s speech or a major presentation.  Other times, it’s the re-thinking of what to say about a company and its products/services, prompted by a merger, acquisition, reorg, new C-suite, and similar changes.  Or:  It’s simply time for a refresh.

Then … wordsmithing and architecting begins.  Reviewers, many of them, weigh in.  And go through many rounds until, voila!  Messaging is complete.

Not quite yet.  To us, the application of messaging often gets lost after the crafting’s done.  It’s all too easy to plonk down the messages in the middle of a blog or speech or Town Hall.   Recycle it, in other words.

But ask yourself first:  Does it ring true?  Is the leader’s quote plucked almost verbatim from the platform?   Could you imagine someone reading (or talking like) this?   Can you readily pick out key messages … simply from the exact words used and not the meaning?  How powerful, in short, is the conversation? 

One last question:  Does messaging control us – or do we control it?