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 |
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…


6 degrees of separation – getting closer to the real deal…

Having a thorough understanding of a clients real requirements, is an essential requirement for producing creative design solutions that actually work for the client, rather than something that just looks good in your portfolio!

‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand.’ Albert Einstein

‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand.’ – Albert Einstein

‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand.’ – Albert Einstein

Attempting to understand the real requirements of a clients brief can be a tough process! Rarely do you get a fully detailed and exhaustive written brief. One that covers every single minutia of what is required, and at the moment the ability to mind read is unfortunately, something that still only exists in science fiction!

In the meantime, we are left with human discernment, experience, knowledge, research and our ability to generate mutually beneficial relationships based on trust with the people we are trying to understand and work with in a productive manner. So anything that can help gain or promote better understanding in this is a good thing, right?

Nowadays, part of the way in which we communicate with people includes a mix of different social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, specialist forums etc. These provide fantastic options to gain extra, off the record kind of insights into what interests people, businesses we admire, or on subjects/people we are just plain interested in or do work with. It can bring a real value added element to the communication process.

For us, business is essentially all about developing good, longer term, mutually beneficial relationships with clients, suppliers and people we are in contact with. To do this successfully, it goes beyond merely just the basics of being able to fulfil a transaction or service. Most companies should be able to do that, if not there are plenty of others that can!

People do business with people, and it is this personal relationship and level of understanding between individuals or organisations, that can often help make or break successful business relationships.

Social media can help people connect in a more immediate and strangely, a more personal way. It can also allow a more informal insight to the way people think, what lies behind the more formal public facade, what interests them or what generally makes them ‘tick’. Why could this be of interest? It gives a fuller, more rounded and engaging picture of someone who you may have never met before. It also, more importantly, opens up a much wider range of potential connection points with them.

This is the concept behind the principle of 6 degrees of separation (the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth).

Six Degrees of Separation by Dannie-Walker
Six Degrees of Separation by Dannie-Walker

Finding and establishing different connection points allows a much easier basis for communication, and we all know that communication is King!

From our experiences, we have found that establishing, maintaining and building relationships through the additional opportunities that social media can provide, has often helped us start, nurture and build relationships.

However, before becoming a digital hermit, nothing beats one of the oldest forms of social media, there is, Social Media v1, the time to catch-up for a real life tea, coffee or a pint of beer!

So if you want to find out a bit more about us and what ticks our various boxes, check out our various boards on Pinterest (Passion4Pins), see our various updates on Facebook or even follow us on Twitter (@Passon_4) – you might be surprised at what you see or read!

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