I had been contemplating my Monday morning blog post all day Sunday – and I had only gotten as far as the title: It’s not so much as what you say, as how you say it.  Not too much good there, I needed a good example to drive home the point.  So, after a day of running around, getting some work done at my computer, and planning my Thanksgiving side-dish contributions to Thursday’s meal, I sat down to relax and happened on The Next Food Network Star. 

While watching the two contenders fight for the grand prize of Iron Chef, my mind kept wandering towards my blog post content.  About the fifth time I heard Chef Canora cry out “Time!  How much time!”  it struck me on the perfect way to start off this post.  Unwittingly, Chef Canora became my perfect example. 

Over the course of the hour, it became increasingly obvious to me who should be the winner – and it wasn’t the one that was clearly frazzled by the experience.  The chef that prepared the best meal was the one that calmly executed his plan, kept the goal in sight and lived up to his expectations.  I thought this was a great example of how loudly our actions speak.  When Chef Canora again asked for the amount of time left, it wasn’t so much as what he said, but how he said it that expressed to me that he was overwhelmed by the competition and was fighting for more than the title of Iron Chef.

We all know that our nonverbal cues factor into our overall message.  Body language –  the way we speak, the tone of our voice, our hand gestures, all give insight to the message, and will likely persuade our audience more than the message itself.  The fact remains that a very large part of our message is conveyed by more than words, so why wouldn’t this translate to our electronic communications?  

So being the visual web designer I am, I decided to take it to task and state the obvious. A large part of your message to your online visitors comes from your non-written content:  Your color selection, placement of information, the images you choose, how the information is arranged on a page, and how you decide to deliver your message all take part in your meaning even before your reader has read the first word!  Impressions are made instantaneously and you must be aware of the importance of all parts of your message.

Take the time to develop different messages for different groups of people.

Take the time to develop different messages for different groups of people.  By this, I mean identify some of the basic groups of people coming to your site and identify how best to speak to that group.  Then, design your message to speak directly to them. Here’s today’s tips to help you with your own web site.

  • Some people are more visual than others.  Make sure your website has video or image links to direct people to the answers to their most likely questions. 
  • Your images you choose for your site should reinforce your brand, color scheme and be part of your message. 
  • First time visitors? Make sure your information is very easily found and organized in such a way as to be relevant to why they came to find your site. 
  • Keep it simple.  We’re all overloaded by information.  The best way to make sure your message is absorbed, is to keep it short and to the point.  Allow your visitors to drill down for further information.  We all don’t mind clicking deeper into a site, if we know we’re on the right path to what we came looking for.
  • I shouldn’t have to say this, but make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. 

And… be mindful that your message encompasses more than just your words.  Whether it be spoken or electronic, make sure you say it right and say it well!