everything says something – the secret arts of communication…

Communication is the lifeblood of human existence. The quality of our ability to communicate effectively, has shaped the development of the world as it stands today, so really, it’s a pretty big thing! In todays digital world, there is a vast plethora of ever-increasing forms and mediums for communication (Snapchatwhatsapp, twitter etc.) that have moved things on from the dizzy days of the humble ‘mixtape’ as a form of personal and intimate communication!

the classic ‘mixtape’ was all about communication

the classic ‘mixtape’ was all about communication

communication | kəˌmyo͞onəˈkāSHən |
noun
the imparting or exchanging of information or news: the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings: social contact: means of connection between people, places or things: a communications network.

Communication takes place at both macro and micro levels. On a personal basis, the very essence of who we are often communicates far more eloquently than anything we can ever say or do. We are in fact the walking talking embodiment of our own ‘brand’. Sometimes communication gets masked, renamed or dressed up in fancy buzz words, but this tends to simply add layers of unnecessary complexity, to what is in essence, a very simple thing. We are our own brand. What we say and do communicates this to all we come in contact with.

In marketing and advertising, companies want to tell (bore!) people every little tiny detail about their product. I think they often labour under the belief that people buy their products based upon these tiny details? They don’t. The details may reinforce their emotional desire or need to justify their purchase after the decision has already been made in their heart. With most things, you have a 3-5 second window to grab someones attention with your message, so the ‘hook’ needs to be clear, concise and one that emotionally engages the audience. When a message is simplified, the power and impact of the communication is often exponentially increased, Apples iconic and hugely successful 1999 iMac ‘Yum’ Poster is simplicity personified!

Apples iconic 1999 iMac ‘Yum’ Poster – simplicity personified

Apples iconic 1999 iMac ‘Yum’ Poster – simplicity personified

‘The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate’
J. B. Priestley

One of the most vital aspects of communication is understanding that it is a two-way process. It should not be a dry monologue, it should be an interactive and engaging dialogue where listening is probably the most essential ingredient.

The Chinese verb ‘to listen’ is interestingly made up from five different Chinese characters – Ear, You, Eyes, Undivided attention and Heart. The fact that it is made up of these different aspects tell us something significant about this multifaceted component of the communication process.

to listen requires more than just your ears

to listen requires more than just your ears

The absence of ‘listening’ is most easily demonstrated in poor examples of customer service. Here the vital aspect of the communication process is not just about passing on good news, or dealing with happy/satisfied clients, more often it is dealing with situations where things have not gone as expected or desired! People can actually deal with hearing bad news, in fact they can be more easily placated simply by keeping them in the loop at all stages as to what is actually going on. Often the biggest frustration of rail commuters if there are delays or cancellations, is not necessarily the delay itself (although this does not help), it is the simple fact that they are not properly kept informed of what is happening. If the rail companies listened to what their customers were actually saying, the quality of their customer service could be greatly improved!

The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.
Sydney J. Harris

As in life, communication is a central component of doing business, but it often gets renamed (or hidden/confused) as dress code, customer service, advertising, product design, branding, marketing, interior design, social media, customer experience, sales, user experience etc. etc. If you don’t recognise these terms as some of your primary sources of business communication, then it could be that you are not in full charge of the messages you are inadvertently communicating as part of your everyday activities?

Everything is connected, everything is reflective, and everything says something about you or your business…

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak – Hans Hofmann

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak – Hans Hofmann

Thanks for taking the time out to read this, much appreciated! Please feel free to share it with your friends, and add any thoughts or comments you might have on it…

Chris

Have a brilliant MMXIV…

At the end of one year and the beginning of another, do you take time out to look back at what has passed, or do you look forward to what is to be in the future? Maybe it is not such a simple either or scenario?

Have a brilliant MMXIV…

Have a brilliant MMXIV…

It can be really useful to look back and take stock on what has been achieved or learnt from events that have taken place in the previous year, but equally it is important to dream dreams of what could be, and to plan where you want to be, and what you want to achieve in the coming next 12 months…

In reality however, it is probably good to have both an overarching perspective gained from looking both back and forward… all whilst making the most of the here and now! All very much par for the course as part of the creative multi-tasking culture!

Whatever way you choose to look at things, I hope you have a brilliant MMXIV…

 

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Apologies for not posting anything for a while, it has been a somewhat busy time, and although I have roughed out and saved a few draft posts for the blog, none have quite got to the finished stage ready to post just yet, but rest assured, there are some in the pipeline which I shall be finishing off over the New Year all being well…

If you are on twitter, say hello @Passion_4, or you can subscribe to this blog via email so you can get notified of updates (don’t worry, I would never pass on any of your info to anyone else!) or feel free to add comments to the blog post if you want…

In the meantime however, make sure you all have a great Christmas 2013 and a fantastic New year 2014!

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

To make a big improvements, start with the small things…

‘A journey of a thousand miles began with a single step’
(1904 – sayings of Lao Tzu)

The 2012 Olympic legacy can be sporting or personal, what will it mean to you?

The 2012 Olympic legacy can be sporting or personal, what will it mean to you?

Quite a famous saying; so famous in fact that the principle it tries to convey, can easily be overlooked or simply taken for granted. Big things rarely happen overnight, it is normally a case of building on a series of smaller steps until the bigger end goal is finally reached.

Now that both the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are sadly over, it struck us just how much creativity and business both have in common with sport. In particular, we were fascinated by the transformation of Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic cycling teams over the last few Olympic games.

Much of this transformation has been credited to TeamGB cycling performance director Dave Brailsford who has championed the phrase ‘The aggregation of marginal gains’.

By this he was referring to the concept of taking 1% from everything you do; and then finding a 1% margin for improvement in everything you do.

Marginal gains have resulted in massive performance gains by Team GB’s Olympic cycling squad

Marginal gains have resulted in massive performance gains by Team GB’s Olympic cycling squad

It sounds very simply, and possibly not that much of an inspirational target or mission to try to achieve? But it is in this simplicity, that the brilliance of Brailsfords mantra lies. Rather than set potentially unrealistic or unachievable big figure performance gains, this approach gives a much wider range of achievable (and thus more motivational) targets.

It also opened the focus up on to every single aspect of what the team were doing, from the obvious to the not so obvious. Nutrition, training, technology, clothing, components, processes, strategy, etc. Each aspect was scrutinised and examined in microscopic detail to see if that 1% gain could be found and built upon.

The resulting tiny percentage gains, although on the surface may seem insignificant in themselves  cumulatively they can add up to large gain – potentially a race-winning, or record-winning, gain. If the results of Team GB’s cycling Olympic champions are anything to go by, this very inspiring, yet simple philosophy has already brought a lasting transformation.

This fascinated us, and we could not help but wonder if the same principles could also be applied within the creative and business environments as well? Surely there is always plenty of opportunity to make 1% improvements in all that we do?

Post Olympics, the talk is now all about creating a ‘lasting legacy’ from the games. This can be taken to mean many things to many people, but from a business perspective, the Olympics legacy for us, is to take on board Dave Brailsfords phrase ‘The aggregation of marginal gains’ so that in all that Passion 4 is involved with, we will continually seek to make small improvements in every single aspect of all that we do…

This could be something of pinterest to you…

Here at Passion 4, we have a fairly wide ranging and eclectic mixture of interests and things that inspire us, so what better way of collecting them than having a digital scrapbook, to not only store them all in, but to find even more sources of inspiration! Lets be honest, you can never have too many sources of inspiration in your life now can you!

We often collaborate and share ideas or research in Evernote, (there is a good review about Evernote on Giikr.com) but for a more public sharing digital scrapbook, we use Pinterest to bookmark some of our interests.

So far on our various Pinterest boards we are covering our passions and interests in…
Architecture, Technology, Inspiration, Design, Furniture, Illustration, Automotive, Photography, Words, Products, Prints and posters, the environment and ones to watch.

Pinterest – Passion 4 pins

Pinterest – Passion 4 pins

Have a look at our various boards and let us know what are your favourites? We are always adding more, so make sure to follow us on Passion4pins