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fussy babies welcome

June 23, 2009

in communication

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while walking in my neighborhood recently, i passed a local church. their sign caught my eye, and i couldn’t help but stop — fussy babies welcome. sure, i know what the sign meant: families are welcome. i also know my brain’s immediate reaction: whose baby are you calling fussy?! i don’t have a fussy baby (i did, but that was 10 years ago and i’m just about over it. plus, she’s jewish.).

this sign is a great reminder to the communicators among us: you may know what you wrote, but you can’t know how it will be received. this is especially true if you don’t test your message first. no marketer in his or her right mind would launch a product without doing some serious market testing with the intended customer before, during, and after product development. yet internal communications — reviewed only by a team of subject matter experts who artfully replaced the writer’s carefully chosen words with mind-numbing legal jargon — are often launched into the company and straight to our employees.

it’s impossible and certainly not logical to test every piece of internal communication. but when it’s a critical message — and let’s face it, to this or any other church, driving up attendance is critical — don’t leave the receipt of your intended message to chance. take the time to involve employees in the development of the message. otherwise, you may have a boatload of justifiably fussy babies on your hands.

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