Are you getting your message across?

The BBC ‘Songs of Praise’ has been televised since 1961 and is one of the longest running series of its kind anywhere in the world.

Being present at an event, I never forgot one famous orchestral conductor prior to the recording, tell the 600 strong chorus that there were three things that mattered during the broadcast - the first was to ‘watch him at all times’, the second was to ‘watch him at all times’ and the third was to‘watch him at all times.'  Needless to say, everyone laughed but he, being deadly serious, scolded the giggling gathering and reminded them that he meant every word!

He had learned over the years that when dealing with the ‘public’ you cannot repeat your message often enough for it to sink in.  And i
t really should not have surprised me - after all, I can still hear my mother’s voice from all those years ago, "how many times do I have to tell you,"  and "If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times."

The advertising world has a term - ‘effective efficiency’. It is used to describe the number of times a consumer must be exposed to an advertising message before the marketer gets the desired response, whether that relates to the buying of a product or something as simple as remembering a message. 

We see the same commercials and hear the same advertising jingles on radio and TV over and over again. In school, we were taught by repetition, the rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Albeit that we were learning what we needed to know of life the same principles apply when communicating with the public. 

The three great rules of public speaking were always summarized as 

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

  2. Tell them.

  3. Tell them what you told them.

Good leaders cannot afford to say "I have already told them, I don’t want to repeat myself." They know that the biggest issue with communication is the illusion that it has taken place. It is no co-incidence that Martin Luther King in his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech uses the word ‘dream’ nine times and the phrase ‘I have a dream’ seven times.

The simple lesson is that we cannot take it for granted that the message we thought we had communicated was actually received and understood. 

Memory is not nearly as efficient or as effective as we like to think it is. According to Tim Bliss of the National Institute for Medical Research, “the fact is our memories are distressingly fallible; we remember things that never happened, and forget completely things that did happen."

In a typical school setting, there are many messages that have to be delivered to different classes or groups at various times and on a regular basis. This has to be done amidst the noise of today’s world and often at short notice.

The ‘Push Notification’ feature of the Edtap App is seen by its users as the most convenient and reliable way for them to send a notification and ensure it registers with their target audience. Here, notifications/messages can be filtered to avoid people being bombarded with those that are irrelevant to them. This ‘targeting’ means that important messages can be sent and repeated with ease.


The ability to add colour such as an associated image, poster or graphic means that the messages can be enhanced to avoid boredom, keeping them fresh and interesting and thus more likely to keep the receiver interested.

A ping in your pocket and an alert on your screen in real time means that the pro-active nature of the ‘pushed’ message can’t be ignored. The tool is ideal for those serious about thoughtful communications and those who realize the benefits of immediate contact with their people base. 

Many have come to appreciate that having a simple method for issuing a message with clarity, consistency and frequency is more a necessity than a luxury. The more we take time to reflect on the human nature of our listening patterns, how we can be selective and even indifferent, the school of today must think creatively and decide on how best to compete for our attention.

These processes are always worth reviewing on a regular basis.

Privacy Policy