Stopping those door-to-door salespeople

I have a real dislike of pushy selling tactics My personal policy is to never buy from people who phone me, knock on my door, or stop me in the street Of course, I'm aware of the conflicts this creates for me as a communicator When I develop communication materials, I often try to grab the attention of disinterested audiences Yet here am I, openly expressing frustration about organisations trying to use the same tactics on meWithin that context, I was amused by the sticker I received from my...

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Gaining audience forgivement

What's the best way to ask audiences to forgive an error Say sorry and admit the error, of course!Last week I commented on how I had become a non-financial member of a professional association, because the association made it difficult for me to re-join I hadn't received a renewal invoice, and was given the impression (via email) that I needed to log onto the association's website and access the invoice myself It seemed as though the association expected me to take some effort to renew my...

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Making things simple for audiences

Communicators are usually interested in motivating audiences to do something We want people to buy our products, use our services, read our copy, and believe our claimsTo motivate audiences, communicators often work hard to make the proposed action as simple as possible We construct messages and processes that make it easy to buy our products or sign up for our services The more work we make our audiences do, the less likely they are to take the action we're afterThat's probably why I'm now a...

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Pictograph confusion

This week I used my credit card to pay for a parking meter It seemed like a straightforward enough process - follow the prompts on the screen, insert the credit card at the right moment, and it should be done Yet somehow, I managed to put my credit card in upside-down three times It wasn't until the machine cancelled my payment and I had to start again from Step 1 that I realised the mistake I was makingHere's the machine I was using:I could see by the shape of the machine that the strip on my...

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Coping with unfamiliar settings

An unfamiliar environment is almost guaranteed to bring my facade of confidence unstuck It doesn't need to be a difficult or stressful situation - just something that I'm not familiar with It's all about lacking the 'script' for how I'm meant to behave in that environment And my reaction seems to be influenced greatly by interactions with staff and the surrounding signageA few weeks ago, I ended up buying lunch for my children at Hungry Jack's Hardly what you'd call a difficult environment, but...

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Signs intended to calm disgruntled customers

Is it possible for organisations to diffuse customer frustration using signs The ultimate message of the signs is: Please, don't get frustrated with us; this is the way our system works, and we're not going to change it for youI've come across two examples of these signs recently, and I felt that one was much more successful than the other In fact, the second only increased my frustrationHere's the one that I likedI know that my poorly-taken pic isn't easy to read It's a sign in a cafe and,...

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Seeing (but not reading) red

Churches and schools around Brisbane often use display signs to announce upcoming events or communicate words of wisdom Most remain outside the digital age, and  have a manual sign like the one shown above They all seem to have a set of black and red letters, and the signs usually incorporate a combination of black and red words within their messagesI often notice that key words are put up in red presumably to attract the attention of passers-by There's some logic in...

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Communicating through distraction

This morning I attended a fascinating breakfast seminar about distraction It was called 'Neuroscience of Distraction: Managing Distraction and Maintaining Focus', and was presented by Geoff Grahl from Australian Aeorspace The organiser was NeuroLeadership Solutions Geoff made several comments about distraction that resonated strongly for me For example:The more information we receive, the more likely we are to be distracted (this reminds me of Richard Wurman's book 'Information...

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Grabbing the attention of disinterested audiences

I was talking last week to our local school Principal about the difficulties that the school faces in communicating with parents The Principal often receives complaints from parents that they don't know what is happening - whether it's a special activity at the school, some type of social function, or a request for a form to be completed Parents often say that they would have been involved in an activity, if they had known it was happeningThe Principal is at a loss about what to do She works...

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