Have you ever noticed that you can skim a page of text and find your name instantly, in the midst of all the other characters on the page or screen?
You are hardwired to connect with your name. It’s important to you. It has meaning. If it’s misspelled, you know it right away – and it’s a turn-off. When someone says your name, you feel an affinity, even if that person is a complete stranger.
Think about the hugely successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. A major element of the campaign’s triumph is the use of names. In each video, the participant calls out three people. “I challenge my sister Lenise, my niece Jillian, and my friends Steve and Diane.
When you use names, you get people’s attention – and you make it more likely that they will respond. You make a personal connection.
Just because you can’t address every member by name doesn’t mean you can’t connect.
Every form of communication, whether it’s a piece of news posted to social media, a class schedule, or a message relayed at a keynote address, is about connecting people and ideas.
Let members know that you understand their pain, and that you can help them do more – or better – business.
You offer tools and services that make people’s lives better. That is, in its purest form, an idea. But is your communication connecting your idea with the people you serve?
To make better connections, put a real person at the front of your mind and write directly to them – as if you were having a face-to-face conversation.
Forget English class and the way you learned to write in grammar school. To convey your idea, make it personal to the reader. Show your members that you understand their worries and needs. Show how your offerings solve their problems.
1. Decide the member group you are writing to; then envision a specific member as you write
2. Write the way you would talk to that member
3. Avoid talking in third person. Instead of: Members first need to contact their association representatives, Say this: Contact Mary Smith first at xxx-xxx-xxxx. She will help you identify what you need to do next.
4. Avoid passive voice at all costs. Instead of: Successful ratings were obtained by members. Use active voice: Members achieve successful ratings in three key areas…
Make more personal connections with your members. Try these four tips the next time you communicate your ideas to them. Focus on a real person when you write. It will help the member – and you focus on what you do best that they need most.
And if you can call them out by name, do it.