We hold our place in conversations with filler words which act as a bridge between coherent thoughts. Most commonly these words are ah, um, er, and, so, you know. We slide in filler words to indicate to others that we’re still talking, hold on, we mean to say, I’m thinking and I’ll be right back with you. Filler words over the course of our lives become a habit and we hardly even know we are using them.
Unfortunately our unconscious use of filler words hurts our ability to make a point, to persuade and to influence. This habit picks away at our credibility just a bit. Professional public speakers know this and they learn early to curb their use of filler words. Take a look at some of the best TED talks and you’ll see one or two, maybe no filler words. Count filler words in your average conference session and you may find 40 or 50. You’ll find that the speaker without filler words is more persuasive and more captivating.
If people use filler words in their communications do organizations use the equilivant of filler words in their marketing messaging? What little signals are associations unintentionally sending that make them less credible and trustworthy?
Abandoned social media channels hurt our credibility
In a frenzy many associations decide that we are going to do social media. So we open accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Maybe also Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. We work really hard at consistently posting for a month or two and find that it is fairly unrewarding because nearly no one likes, retweets or +1’s our posts and fewer follow. Eventually these channels are abandoned or infrequently used. For members who care about Twitter or another channel, seeing social media lay fallow makes them wonder how credible the organization is.
Fact-based marketing hurts our credibility
Fact-based marketing follows a 3 step formula. This is who we are. This is what we do. Now that you know who we are and what we do won’t you please purchase, join or attend? Most marketing is fact-based marketing. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t connect our member’s needs with our solutions. Members get the sense from our marketing that our focus is on the association’s bottom line and not them, this hurts our credibility.
Policies can hurt our credibility
Members want to see messaging about what they can do. Not a bunch of language about what they can’t do. Policies are developed to protect the association from its members and members know it. Policies can hurt our credibility.
What other ways are our associations are giving off weak little unintentional signals that bit by bit hurt the credibility and trust we are trying to build with members?
- Storytelling is different marketing
- Do our association’s members feel taken care of?
- Association’s insidious customer service gap