As those of you who follow this blog know, I am a big music fan. A few weeks ago, my wife asked me if I focus on the lyrics or the music and the melody. I am sure she was expecting a short, possibly one word answer. My answer started with, "It depends," and lasted another 10 minutes.
After explaining that sometimes it was about my mood and other times it was about the song, I started talking about the conflict between the lyrics and the music in many songs. Take Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen for example. When it's played in concert, the pop inspired melody provokes a happy sing-a-long, hand waving feeling through the crowd. Yet think about how the song starts.
"Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack...I went out for a ride and I never went back." That's not happy stuff! And it's certainly not a sentiment many can identify with (I hope). Yet, for over 30 years, people have been singing that line with a smile on their face, oblivious to the words because it has a happy melody.
I've noticed the same thing in my business and I am sure it applies to most service industries. If not delivered properly, our message can easily be forgotten or missed. There are plenty of rock/pop songs that have happy melodies and sad lyrics. But that's intentional. Sometimes, we miss not because our information is off, but because of how it's presented.
A colleague recently went above and beyond for a client. However, in the cover email when he explained what he had done, he apologized for his sloppy handwriting on the document that was attached. All the client could focus on was the handwriting and why he hadn't typed the information. Had he not pointed it out, would the client have thought twice about it?
Conversely, I am convinced people like my ideas at times not because they are great ideas (some are), but because they are delivered with confidence. We all know people who are great at convincing you to have one more drink, typically not a good idea, but because of the way they sell it, you just can't say no.
The next time you don't get the response you expected from a message, think about how it was delivered. Did you deliver the message with passion and conviction or with uncertainty and insecurity? Did you use bad grammar? Was the formatting off? Did you say "um" over and over again while you were speaking? Anything that can distract from the message should be fixed. Unless you are delivering bad news and simply want to bury the message in a happy melody.