We have a fun, interesting looking clock in the AHA kitchen. I am sure it was inspired by the works of Salvador Dali. It is kind of melting and surreal, and when a person first sees it, they are unsure how to tell what time it is. It’s been hanging in the kitchen for about a year now. It seems perfectly normal to those of us who spend any time in the room.
We had an AHA crew member come by a few days ago and her surprised (and fascinated) reaction to the clock was interesting. It was a clear reminder that if you are exposed to something on a regular basis, it can lose its impact on you. It is important to remember that, especially when you are developing messaging, positioning and outreach campaigns. Not everyone will have your knowledge, your exposure, your familiarity – they may not view what you are communicating through the same lens that you do.
As communicators, we often need to take a step back and look at things from different perspectives. To think about how they will be received by each of the stakeholder groups – and potentially by the groups as a whole. At AHA, we have developed a series of questions to ask as we build campaigns or develop messages, positioning or speeches (or just about anything that will be shared). It is important to remove yourself from what you think and put yourself in the shoes of others. Our approach is always to view the work we are doing from a range of perspectives – from supporters to critics to those that just don’t care (and many in between).
The work we do is called communication, but a large component focuses on perception – how what is being shared, promoted, communicated or told is going to be heard.
It’s important to take a step back and make sure that you have taken the perspective of all stakeholder groups into consideration.