Beware Personalising your Messaging At the Wrong Times

Beware personalising your messaging at the wrong times.

Two examples from the current Australian Federal election campaign.

When we communicate, connecting with our audience by personalising our messaging and bringing it back to us is – at times – a very good idea.

But to be persuasive and to influence that audience, it has to be carefully managed: at the right time and in the right context.

Watching the federal election campaign playing out at the moment I’m always fascinated to see how the candidates communicate.

And I’m going to give you two examples where I don’t think either the Prime Minister or opposition leader have got it right.

First, a repetitious style of communicating from Anthony Albanese -prefacing a statement.

Albanese, when launching on a negative statement about the Liberal party, has a tendency to begin with either “I find it extraordinary that…” or “I find it remarkable that…”.

If you regularly listen to him speak, this will be familiar!

To me this is (in most cases) a mistake. As a member of the public, I don’t care that you find it extraordinary or remarkable.

What I care about is how it is going to impact me. And even though Albanese may go on to say exactly that, telling us upfront that he personally find something extraordinary is – in my view – unnecessarily making it about him.

Now to Scott Morrison

His blunder this week that he and wife Jen had been blessed with two children without disability was rightly condemned. His intent may have been to try and show empathy but as this is a very weak point for him, it went wrong.

Again, personalising the message to make it initially about him was a bad idea.

And it brings me back to one of my basic tenets of good communication. When you’re trying to win over an audience, frame your messaging initially to be about them. What I call ‘Connect, then Carry’.

Then if appropriate you can bring it back to yourself.

Wishing you great speaking experiences!

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