What you say matters just as much as how you say it

March 03 2014

You can have the best concept in the world, but if it’s delivered in the wrong way, there’s a good chance it will end up going nowhere. When you align your message and the way you communicate, you increase your odds that the right people will receive your words at the right time — and do something. This “something” is your desired outcome: buy, share, discuss, donate, publish, apply, act, whatever.

I’ve realized the difference between message and voice can be confusing, as I’ve found myself explaining it to several clients. Here’s a quick refresh on what you say vs. how you say it (and why it matters):

Message: What you say

Your message is the underlying concept you’re trying to get across. It’s your idea. Messages direct what you communicate with your audience. Without a clear understanding of your message, your words will fall flat and most likely fail to reach the people you intend to start conversations with.

Voice: How you say it

Voice is a writing device (there are many). The language you choose when you communicate can affect the way your message is received. If you write your monthly alumni newsletter in a casual, flippant manner while looking to solicit donations from an “established audience,” peppering sentences with slang and colloquial language may not be the best choice.

For successful connections, aim to match your message with the manner in which you communicate.