Be Clear In Your Message

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, July 07, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

photo of Mike and US Navy sailors on Flag DayA few weeks back on Flag Day I said I would be handing out US flags on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. In the end, it was a successful event, but it didn’t start that way.

Positioned next to the Wrigley Building, I stood with arms extended and a flag in each hand shouting, “Happy Flag Day!” The few people who did give me eye contact just stared at me. I was taken aback as I wondered why people didn’t want a free flag on its namesake day. A few minutes later my lovely wife came from across the street and told me to tell people the flags are free – this worked for her as people were ignoring her as well. When I changed my proclamation to “Free flags, Happy Flag Day!” I was out of hundreds of flags in no time.

I should have known this from the start. As someone who walks along these very streets, there is a plethora of inundations from people for various reasons. Some want your signature, some want money, and some just want to give you something free. But with all the noise, it is hard to filter especially as you are clipping along the sidewalk. By making my message clearer, accompanied by a clearer visual of several flags in each hand, I was successful at doing what I was there to do – handing out free American flags.

If I were talking about delivering a clear message on a Web site, I would use the term “user-centric.” Looking back on that nice sunny day, that term also applied equally on the Magnificent Mile.

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