Communicating About Yourself

In my experience it’s always hardest to communicate effectively about yourself. That’s why writers like me keep busy. That’s why users usually have better ideas and suggestions than the team doing the work. That’s why designers often complain about the ridiculous ideas clients suggest.

Part of the problem is getting perspective. You already know the whole story about your self, your company, your product, your whatever. It’s not easy to step outside that viewpoint. I often wonder if companies use their own web site (or phone service or product or whatever)–if they did, the flaws would be obvious.

All of which is a trap I think I’ve fallen into with my own company, Monkey Outta Nowhere.

How many times have you visited a web site and they don’t have the important information up front? A band’s web site where you have to sit through the flashy loading screen to get their hyper site just so you can see whether or not a new album is coming out. A church web site where the address is buried. A site where you know more about what’s happening with the company than the latest updates tell you (JetBlue, anyone?). Copy that’s self-involved or doesn’t tell you what you need to know.

They all drive me nuts. And unfortunately, we’re all susceptible to it.

I’ve realized lately that what I do is more than writing or editing, it’s helping organizations communicate. I help them get that outside perspective and find an effective way to communicate who they are and what they do, often through content. Whether it’s a blog or a newsletter or an article, I help them tell their own story.

So now I need to help myself tell my own story. Kind of like one of my clients recently tried a taste of their own medicine, I think that’s what I need. I’m still trying to figure out what that means, but I know it means some changes.

2 thoughts on “Communicating About Yourself”

  1. The Flash-based loading screen you mention is one of my pet peeves. I understand why designers do it – animation is cool, motion catches the eye, and I have even flirted with hunkering down to learn Flash for the gaming and cartooning potential. But then I see it used in splash screens, where it’s nothing more than a pretty barrier to get to the content you actually want to see. And a pretty barrier is still a barrier. Somebody out there probably has statistics on how often “skip intro” is clicked on those sites. My guess is that it’s an embarrassingly high percentage.

    So don’t add a splash screen to monkeyouttanowhere, even though it would probably be the coolest monkey-themed splash screen ever. :)

  2. Thanks, Dave. Except for the fact that I don’t know a lick of Flash, so something tells me the flying monkeys out of nowhere wouldn’t be that cool.

    And it’s not even just the flash screens. How many bands put so much time and effort into a flashy site that doesn’t actually deliver any content? It’s all style and no substance, and if they do that for their web site, what about their music? Don’t worry about having such a visually amazing site–worry about keeping your tour diary from being 9 months out of date.

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