Over the past few days, we’ve talked about redundancy and repetition. Redundancy works if you need to make sure that a message sinks in fully. Ad agencies suggest that you need to repeat an advertisement to the same audience at least six times just to make sure that it’s noticed. (And, note that “noticed” is not the same as “understood”). Yet we also learned in information science that the more frequently a signal is repeated, the less information it carries. So redundancy works best when you can vary the signal while keeping the message the same. Volvo has done exactly that as they’ve built their brand. Volvo’s message is always “safety” but they deliver the message in many different ways.
What if a person keeps repeating himself? It could mean that he’s crazy. More likely, he thinks he hasn’t been heard. If he thinks you haven’t noticed and understood his message, he’ll continue to repeat himself — even to the point of being self-defeating. There’s a simple solution — just feed back what you’ve heard. You may have to do it more than once but, sooner or later, the person will acknowledge that he’s been heard — usually by nodding his head. Once you’ve established that the message was properly received, you can move on to new topics. Take a look at the video to practice the technique.