The lion's perspective
In one of Aesop’s Fables a lion is shown a picture of a lion being slain by a man. “It would have looked a lot different if a lion had drawn it” he said.
Are the verbal and written images we use in our communications always partial to the way we interpret situations? Or do we deliberately portray things as we want to see them even if it’s not reality?
There are many examples of both in news coverage, in descriptions of history, and in marketing and communications. When we see or hear them there’s an inevitable reaction. The broadcast or newspaper or book or advert immediately loses credibility. And so, of course, does the individual or organisation behind it.
Sometimes the inadequacy or inappropriateness of the message stems not from a conscious attempt to mislead. It comes from not giving the perspective and needs of the audience sufficient weight. From not recognising that their language and understanding may well be significantly different than that of the organisation.
Jargon, in education and government, is still rampant. In school newsletters and prospectuses, in public notices and press releases. Words and acronyms that sound persuasive in the staffroom or traffic engineer’s office fall flat with parents and drivers. Worse than that they can cause resentment.
Here’s a simple message about simplicity. Think of your communications as one human being talking to another. Not a “professional” talking, but a person. It works.
Posted on: 5th July 2010 in