Thursday, January 05, 2006

Your Momma! - What A Joke Can Teach Us About Powerful Communications

When I was a kid, my friends and I would spend hours talking about each others mommas. We said some pretty cruel things, but no one took offense. Rather, those joke-telling sessions were contests. Well-crafted jokes were rewarded with laughter and affirmation. Duds were greeted with either silence or jeers.

"Momma" jokes can tell teach us a lot about how to communicate more powerfully. I remember that the best jokes:

* Were Simple: Crisp, clear communication was key. The best jokers recognized that the faster they got to the point, the better the joke. For successful communications, keep it simple.

* Used The Active Voice: Momma was often doing something (usually bad) to someone. Something never did anything bad to momma. When writing, remember what Strunk and White taught: The active voice is . . . more direct and vigorous than the passive.

* Were Creative: Before, during and after each session, we wracked our brains for innovative ways to insult someone elses momma. We recognized that there is nothing new under the sun. However, we always found a creative way to insert momma into an old situation. Creativity is the spice of good communications.

* Left An Impression: We usually remembered and repeated the best momma jokes. Granted, the fact that they were usually naughty probably had a lot to do with it. However, it was also because these jokes left a vivid, enduring picture in our minds. No matter how mundane the topic, effective communicators strive to ensure that their messages are remembered and hopefully repeated.

For powerful communications, remember to keep it simple, use the active voice, be creative and leave an impression.

(c) 2005 Fard Johnmar

Fard Johnmar is founder of Envision Solutions, L.L.C., a full-service healthcare marketing communications consulting firm. Envision Solutions provides innovative products and services to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Envision Solutions goal is to make our clients more efficient and successful. For more information about Envision Solutions please visit our Web site.

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