All have something to say. Regardless of whether they have a product or service to sell, a message to deliver, a cause to advocate, or a battle to fight, the result is the same -- a cacophony of voices all speaking at the same time, all wanting to be heard, they each want something from us.
But they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting it if their target audience won't give them the time of day.
It is within this environment that mission entrepreneurs must find their way. Their challenge is to deliver their message in a way it can be heard above the din and acted upon by those who need to hear it.
Typical marketing tactics often include the use of superlatives as a way to stand out from the crowd. Their use suggests that the product or service they offer is better than all the other options that are also vying for the consumer's money or attention.
But do they really work? And perhaps just as importantly, do they help to create the kind of world their mission is working to build? Or are they simply helping to create another problem along the way?
Just today I read about an introductory program being presented on "Social Media Domination." At first I wondered about the use of the term "dominate," and what was meant by it. Can social media really be dominated? Or is it the social media follower who is to be dominated by post after post demanding their attention and drowning out the competition?
But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered about whether the choice of words really got across the point they wanted to make -- that they were offering ways attendees might use their social media efforts to build their businesses.
Instead of saying that, however, they used "dominate social media" in the title of an event clearly identified as an introductory program for "social media success." So it started me thinking. Can a newbie (the target for an introductory-level program) really be expected to dominate anything?
Perhaps what they meant by introductory was that this was to be the first in a series of programs -- or maybe an introduction to their services -- through which attendees or clients might expect to get more business.
As for social media success, I still haven't figured out that one. Because for all I've learned about social media, I'm still scratching the surface of its capabilities (which are evolving almost as fast as the technology that supports it).
Any social marketer worth his or her salt will tell you it can be used for a whole lot of different purposes, each requiring a different platform, strategy, content and followup effort. So they typically do their presentations either based on a shotgun approach telling you a little about several of the major platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), or digging deeper with detail on how you might use just one.
Maybe it's because I wasn't raised in the quick twitch, technologically-savvy video game/mobile phone generation. Or maybe I'm just a little slow in such things (though I've always tried to stay on the leading edge of new possibilities as an early-adapter of technological changes). Or maybe I'm just not smart enough.
But I can't listen to these so-called experts throw out a few tips and all of sudden translate that into something that works for me with instant success. My own personal learning and application curve doesn't work like that. My way is one filled with trial and error, falling down many times along the way until I find what suits my style, message and mission.
When I go to social media seminars, admittedly usually offering advanced-level material, no matter how much I understand or embrace the ideas shared, I still need some time to take whatever is offered and translate it into any usable form. Whether that results in "success" of any kind depends on a whole lot of factors, and not just my know-how of what to do.
I would think that most of the newbies who would attend such an introductory program wouldn't get immediate impact, either. So suggesting through hyperbole that they will dominate and find success from a couple hours covering a wide range of platforms just doesn't feel like a promise they can deliver on. If not, they're not being truthful to their audience.
As all of you know, that's a quality I value highly in the world I'm trying to build.
So what's all this have to do with you?
Yes, you must share your message loud enough to be heard, where. Maybe for you that even means shouting over the rest.
My own way, though, is to speak during the lulls, when the shouters are stopping to catch their breath and when my audience -- people like you -- are willing to open their receptivity perhaps a little. For such moments are often when your audience has slipped away for a little quiet time to be alone with their own thoughts and interests, rather than subjecting themselves to the continual bombardment of messages that comes across most media channels.
You'll have to find that space for yourself, and the right way to broach the subjects you want to talk about in a way that fits your personality, style and mission.
But before you do, I hope you'll stop and think about what you're going to say. For if you're like the guy who's doing the marketing program, you're going to confuse those who just might want to hear what you have to say.
Be clear. Be consistent. Speak the truth. And show people how what you offer will solve their problem. Aren't those valued attributes of the kind of world you're working so hard to create?
Be the change, baby. Be the change.
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John Dennison is a recovering lawyer turned spiritual teacher, peacemaker and mission consultant who speaks and writes to empower those who are called to help change the world and overcome the obstacles that hold them back.
He wrote Whispers in the Silence -- Living by the Light of Your Soul, as a guide so they could follow the inner voice that provides them with inspiration and guidance to make a difference.
To learn more visit him at JohnDennison.com.