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Blah blah blah, fear & being inauthentic

We may talk and talk, or write and write, but never get our message across.


In a previous blog we talked about three very common missteps in communication:

  • Not understanding the context.

  • Highlighting undesirable behaviors.

  • Leveraging guilt.

You can brush up here.


Today, we introduce three more missteps.

And how to overcome them so that we don't end up with a response similar to:

"You talkin' to me?"

– Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in "Taxi Driver"


How {not} to communicate - Part II

Overloading with information


There is a finite amount of information that our brains can process at once. Feeding people with loads and loads of facts won’t help. What’s more, we get bombarded with information from many different sources constantly. Where do we turn our finite attention, time and energy?


Most likely, it won’t be to read a 128-page report to get up to speed with Apple’s environmental progress. Instead, we could spare 5 minutes for an entertaining video where Mother Nature visits Apple’s headquarters.

Keep it simple, easy and, if possible, why not, fun!

Creating fear


Creating fear (like over-emphasizing the devastation of climate change without offering hope) can backfire because messages like these overwhelm people and diminish their hopes and sense of self-efficacy (ability to have a positive impact). If there’s no hope, why should I bother? Let’s follow Elon to another planet.

Yes, emotions are powerful for getting attention and inspiring change. And of course people should be aware how serious a problem is. But always, always, always accompany fear with hope. And be tangible when telling people where this hope lies – that is, what people can do.

Being inauthentic or pretentious


It’s hard to convince someone when you come out as pretentious. It is well established that the credibility and authenticity of communications are key and that messaging perceived as disingenuous or clearly aimed at persuasion is less likely to work.


As for how to be and sound more authentic, here’s a tip from Warren Buffet, the investor famous for his "buy and hold" strategy—resisting selling in the best and worst of times. His net worth is estimated at $117,000,000,000 and his company's investment portfolio gains on average 19.8% per year.

One of his greatest strengths are his expertly written shareholder letters.

In them he convinces and assures his shareholders to continue to hold their shares.To believe in him and his strategy even through the worst crashes and recessions.

Here’s Warren’s tactic for writing compelling letters:

Question for you


How can you improve one communication you had today?

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