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3 Principles of Effective Communication

Posted By Darren Rowse 7th of October 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

effective-communication.jpgDo you want to learn to blog in a way that goes beyond just conveying information and helps people to take action on what you’ve written?

Last night as I was watching the new Australian version of The Apprentice I saw a very short segment featuring public speaker Brett Rutledge. The winners of a task were rewarded with a session with Brett to talk about communication and public speaking. The show only showed 30 seconds of Brett but in that very short snippet he said something that resonated with me.

He was talking about principles of communication in leadership – but I think it applies pretty well to bloggers. I’m paraphrasing here but what he said boiled down to this:

To communicate to me clearly you need to do three things:

  1. Give me a Message
  2. Make me Care
  3. Give me a Way to Remember it

I suspect there’s a lot of truth in that for leaders communicating in the business setting – but it rings true for me as a blogger wanting communicate effectively each day through my blog.

Lets explore each in turn briefly (this is of course my interpretation for bloggers on what Brett was getting at with his points).

Give them a Message

I suspect many bloggers work pretty hard on principle #1 – we craft our posts carefully and work hard on communicating clearly – but perhaps the other two elements are things that could lift posts to the next level in terms of getting people to actually take action on the things we write about.

Giving a message of course means we ourselves need to know what we’re trying to convey and what action we want readers to take at the end of posts. If we don’t know what we want people to do it’s pretty hard to get action.

It’s also about communicating clearly and giving people a call to the action we want them to take.

Make them Care

  • When someone cares about what you’re writing – they have much more motivation to take action on it.
  • When someone cares they’re more likely to tell someone else about it.
  • When someone cares they’re more likely to respond to you with a comment.

Communicate something to someone who doesn’t care and you might as well not be communicating!

How do you make them care? I think it partly comes down to showing people how what you are sharing with people applies to them, how it will make some aspect of their life better, inspiring them with a picture of how things will be once they’ve done something – it’s about getting people in touch with their feelings, fears, motivations, values and desires and tying them to what you’re communicating to them.

Give them a Way to Remember It

Have you ever read or heard something that inspired you to go away and take some course of action…. only to promptly forget to do it? I do it all the time. Sometimes I don’t take action because I change my mind, sometimes it is because I get busy and sometimes I just forget to do it (I’m thinking to myself ‘I’m sure there was something else I had to do today).

It’s one thing to communicate clearly what you want and to get someone to care about it – but a whole other thing to get them to actually take the action. A big part of closing the deal is to give them a way to remember what it is you want them to do.

I’d love to hear Brett (or others) talk more about how he helps people to remember what you say – but I find that I have most success in ‘closing the deal with people when I give them something simple, achievable and immediate to do.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Now I feel compelled to go back through a bunch of my recent blog posts to see if I have these 3 principles implemented!

  2. Getting someone to remember and take action is a huge challenge. Many business, marketing, and psychology books have been written on this topic. More will continue to be written as well because there isn’t just one way to do it.

    This is a great reminder about important things to include in blog posts to help the reader get the most from your blog!

  3. Darren according to you which way will be suitable so that they keep remember your post.

    I just involve their love ones so that they can imagine their faces … so far this one is really working to me. Sometime I leave some emotional wording as well.

  4. I try to get people involved by asking questions after the post. I can see what you mean about making them care though and it’s something I may put a little more emphasis on in the future. Without overdoing it of course.

  5. Give a message is a great first tip. Probably the most important, too. Great post.

  6. Giving the reader a way to remember it is quite hard I feel. It surely depends on the individual. An image may do it for some, whilst a punch-line or moral at the end may do it for others.

  7. These are very important tips to remember when blogging and as Blake commented, there isn’t just one way to do it. In addition, I believe the Internet is evolving every day, and so is the world of blogging, but these three components will always be important because we will always be trying to reach people with our words.

  8. Getting to be remembered is the best way to improve any business especially in blogging. Every words you leave on each of your blog posts expands your brand for your blog.

  9. I think “making them care” is that part that most people miss out on. In my mind, all human beings want to be happy. So whatever you are telling me should in some way help me get further along towards happiness! Speakers should also appeal to where their talk fits into higher goals.

  10. Communication is the way to success. All the great leaders can communicate, and they get the masses moving.

    It goes the same for bloggers who want to make your readers do what is best for them.

    Great post, Darren.

  11. Agreed Darren. Communication starts an effective message and is about closing with the “next step.” I’m firm believer that if you write with passion, people will care. They’ll be inspired by what you have to offer. It is on the individual blogger to strike this chord with people. When you’ve achieved this it’s up to you to leave the next step to them. You can’t force people but you can guide them. This is where creativity comes in.


  12. If I put myself as a reader I would say what makes me care is if I feel connected to you in some way or you’re experiencing results I want. Then I’m all ears on how you did it and how I could do it too.

    With remembering, I remember what’s different and what’s repeated a lot. I know there are posts I will never ever forget because they were so different from the way most posts are. Whether they were really sarcastic or super long and detailed or controversial or they solve a problem with extreme clarity.

    And with repetition, I’ll probably always remember that when you’re building up a readership to “go where readers are already gathering” because you’ve repeated that a lot on here.

    Also it could go back to #2. If I care enough, I’ll remember it.

  13. Wow Darren!! Thanks for this, I’m in the middle of writing my post for the day and this just made me realize that I need to redo the post to get my message across more effectively. I am guilty as a blogger of writing something I would understand and not take into consideration what someone else would interpret and whether they would care! This is good stuff, thanks once again…….

  14. I really love what you’ve said about caring. It really requires us to think through our content before hitting the publish button!

  15. Short andto the point. wow give me a message, make me care and then what was the third one? oh ya give me a way to remember it.

  16. I guess this would follow through with all advertising. Make a point, get them involved and help them remember it.

    This really is a great thought.

  17. Photos, imho, especially ones you’ve taken yourself, if they are tied even remotely to the post content, will help the reader care about and remember your message. Be sure to state “photo by your humble blogger” or some such, so they realize your personal touch.

  18. How can you talk in a way that people can remember?

    yrt gnitirw ti sdrawkcab

    Also, is there a problem with your last headline:
    “Give the a Way to Remember It”

    Should that be them?

  19. If you haven’t read “Made to Stick”, you should. It’s all about making your message memorable. Very entertaining and practical book. http://www.madetostick.com/

  20. I couldn’t agree more. It’s as though we each need to think about how WE like to be communicated TO before we try to communicate to others. That’s exactly what you’ve explained here.

    Make them care – Give them something to help remember your message.

    As a blogger and a life coach, you are truly spot on about these two things. They are crucial in the game of SUCCESSFUL communication.

    Thanks for the insight and the excellent advice.


  21. Katie says: 10/07/2009 at 6:30 am

    Great post, thanks for tying these communication principles to blogging. Sometimes we forget the basics. I find that the most memorable lessons are the ones told through stories. If you can tell a story that gets your message across, it can help make an emotional connection that will make them care and stay with them longer.

  22. Give them a way to remember it…

    1. Impact/relevancy

    2. Repetition

    The more relevant the message, the less repetition you’ll need (and vice versa)

  23. #4: Put it in list form.

    It seems like people these days online and off are so busy, that any over lengthy paragraph is quickly forgotten. I find that bullet lists that are short and to the point work wonders for communicating points effectively in addition to the three tips you mentioned above.

  24. These principles should be implemented on our blogs for a better communication

  25. Great post…thanks

  26. Having worked with Brett Rutledge, as a fellow professional speaker and comedian, I can vouch for both his credibility and stage presence – he ticks all the boxes. And, like Monet, he is one of the great impressionists, although Brett does it with voices rather than paint.

    In my other work as an Advanced Presentation Skills Coach, I stress that the very first thing a communicator needs to do is answer the following question that is always in the mind of their reader or listener, ‘Why should I be interested in you as a human being?’ It’s a person to person thing, nothing to do with ‘content’, and it has to come right at the start of your communication, before you get to the message itself, otherwise you’ve lost them.

    What I’m saying here is particularly true for a new, unknown blogger, speaker, trainer, etc. A trusted, well respected communicator doesn’t have to start from scratch each time. But, for the person who is new to their audience, there are two aspects of ‘Make me Care’, the first being, ‘Make me care about YOU’, and the second being, ‘Make me care about your MESSAGE’.

    In my own case, although I am well established within my profession, I commenced as a newbie blogger only yesterday, so in this area of my life I have to start from scratch. In my first few posts, I have to satisfactorily answer the question, ‘Why should I be the slightest bit interested in Graeme Bowman?’

    This is why my first post, which I called, ‘OMG! u r 2 old 2 blog!’, gives some insight into me as a person and my sense of humour, etc. And because most of my early readers will be socialmedia savvy, arriving via Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, I made the subject of the post one that will resonate with such folk. So there is a very deliberate attempt to make them care on both levels.

    There is a proven model for structuring effective communication, that caters for all learning styles, called 4MAT. I sniffed around the web a bit, and for any of your readers who are interested in exploring the topic in greater depth, and who want to take their own communication to the next level, here is an intro to 4MAT (free, no need to subscribe, nothing to do with me)



  27. One technique I try to implement in each post is to solve a problem for the reader, which could possibly fall somewhere between your “make them care” and “give them a way to remember” categories.

  28. Good post. The 3-Ps are great! I’ll try to implement them :)

  29. Great tips that are so simple (or at least look it) at the same time!

    It would be cool if the third step was achieved through the second step – make them remember by making them care so much – but with our hectic everyday lives, that goal seems too idealistic, no? So yeah, it’s good to give readers something simple and straightforward to take action on right away, in the span of time it would take you to remember a phone number without any recording tools handy.

  30. If we put more energy on advertise we will lose Communication.

  31. Give them a Message, Make them Care and Give the a Way to Remember It…yes very good no great points to keep and model.

    Oh and one more point….to spell check and recheck for typos:-) I think the last point is missing a letter. The I believe should be Them. I am just as or even more guilty in missing words and letters. It seems my brain is always much faster than my fat fingers.

  32. This is another article that I learn about blogging, Thank you for share this great information. I am a blogger that try to follow every point of problogger.

  33. Thanks for sharing such nice principles here. As effective communication has more value. Every where it must. It is nice to post here. I like this site as it is very informative and hence people who will come across this site will gain lot of information about it. I am very glad to being a part of your site! I will visit this site in future too.

  34. Great communicators uses simple form of communication. They use less words to convey more. That is the way for better communication. Good Article.

  35. Even though you don’t want negative publicity on your site or blog, many times corporations actually get positive results from negative publicity, because the name is associated with the action which is easily remembered.

  36. As a graduate of communication myself, and a focus on persuasive speaking, the key elements are what Darren has suggested, plus more:
    Attention Getter (Story, Question, Quote)
    Importance – Why it is important to listen
    Preview of Topics
    Topic 1 – 3 with their sub-points
    Conclusion w/ Action Step
    End with a story
    As a result of going to college for communication, organizing my blogs in a comprehendable and persuasive way, are easy to write with clarity.
    I hope this helps! http://siddhalishree.com

  37. Well saidl. Here are my tips on writing to help people remember. http://barbsawyers.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/memory-glues-and-cues/

  38. That’s rite. So yeah, it’s good to give readers something simple and straightforward to take action on right away, in the span of time it would take you to remember a phone number without any recording tools handy.

  39. Communication is one of the important thing, we should care about.

  40. These are 3 great points for effective communication. After watching “The Biggest Loser” yesterday, I still remember a couple tips they gave briefly at commercial breaks: substitute cauliflower for potatoes (I remember because I am trying to eat healthier and love mashed potatoes) so I cared, and the other was two easy exercises for your back for people who sit at a desk all day (like me) so again it made me care and I remember them: tabletop and supermans. I even did them today!

  41. Making people care enough to take action is always the challenge. Solving their problem many times will not have them comment as they got the info they needed and now have moved on to the next thing.

    I have found that engaging people who have commented on the blog off the blog by sending them an email tends to get them to come back and engage in conversation,

  42. Make them care……I am here to help you.

  43. Getting people to remember a message is key.

    This is what story telling is all about. The problem is that there is a fine line between exaggerated hype and a compelling story. It has to sound authentic, yet be heroic. It is tough to do.

    I definitely think that story telling is underrated in business. Everyone needs a story or elevator pitch.

  44. Great post, Darren. There are so many rules and tips in writing, that it’s hard for beginners to remember them all. These ones are simple and easy to remember – maybe a lead-in to the lower level rules. They apply equally to copywriting too.

  45. On Making People Care

    You (the author) is more passionate about your message than your audience. You need to remember this fact. Hence, to make people care, ask yourself this question: “Why should the audience read my message? Why should they even bother?”

    Be critical of your own content and evaluate it dispassionately. Then only will you be able to make someone else care.

    I remember reading another way by which you can make people care. Authors of the book Made to Stick say, “To make someone care about X, first know what they actually care about now. Use this information and relate X to what they already care about.”

    To keep Texas clean, TV Commercials were run by the authorities. If they had just said, “Keep Texas clean”, none would have bothered. So the message that was crafted was – “Don’t mess with Texas”. The message and the way it was crafted made people relate to it. It was said in a ‘Texan’ way and people responded to the campaign and that made it a success.


  46. zhangliang says: 10/08/2009 at 5:17 pm

    Darren according to you which way will be suitable so that they keep remember your post.

    I just involve their love ones so that they can imagine their faces … so far this one is really working to me. Sometime I leave some emotional wording as well.

  47. Communication is one of the key factors that determine the success of a mentoring relationship, and conflicts often result from misunderstandings regarding differences in communication styles. The following checklist may help you to evaluate whether you communicate effectively and indentify areas for improvement.Great post.

  48. very interesting, personally I think the key to good communication is “listening” is you perfect that, then you can respond accordingly. If you work on your communication skills, it will lead to less misunderstandings and probably less conflict.

  49. Getting our readers to take action is always a difficult task. One thing to remember is that readers do not care about you, their main focus is; What is in it for me?

    A reader will only take action if they feel that your information will be a benefit to them. So your articles need to identify their problems and show the reader solutions to their problems.

    I just wrote an article 10/8/09 titled “Top tips on Effortless/Painless ways to conserve & save $$$.” Feel free to read my article on my blog anytime at=> http://bit.ly/ERMz0

  50. I’ve always hear that an effective communication needs to be like an elevator pitch. Imagine you’re taking the elevator on a building and suddenly Obama, the Pope, Darren Rowse (lol) or any person you admire hops on and wants to go to the 5th floor. You know that you only have 3 floors to get his attention; what would you say??????

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