When I was a kid, I used to look at those signs by elevator doors that said “In case of fire, use stairs” and be dumbfounded.
I always thought that they were trying to tell me to always use the stairs just in case of a fire. Why, I thought, did they bother having the elevators if you should always use the stairs? It wasn’t until my parents told me that the sign actually meant in THE case of a fire to use the stairs because the elevator was too dangerous.
I was thinking about that sign when waiting for the elevator at my office the other day and it made me start thinking about clarity in messaging. Now obviously, more often than not, we don’t have to worry about the mind of a six year old comprehending our message but think about how much more effective, and how much more understood, your message would be if it could be understood by a six year old.
I know that a lot of business owners and executives don’t like dumbing down what they do into these small, “bite sized”, boxes but if your target audience doesn’t understand what you want them to buy, why would they buy it?