• Will Small

You need more than a microphone to be heard


I love a good microphone, but I know that merely amplifying the sound doesn’t mean you’ll be heard.

Crafting a message that sticks with people requires a lot more than volume.

One of the early places I learned how to cut through the noise was with rowdy groups of High School students who didn’t want to hear a lecture about poetry. It’s a deeply satisfying feeling transforming a classroom cacophony into a silent space where every single word slices through silent air.

So, how did I learn to make that happen?


1. I identified the common ground.

  • I used to be a High School student who thought poetry was boring.

2. I disrupted expectations.

  • Did you know poetry can actually sound like this? (Insert freestyle rap, spoken word piece etc).

3. I knew where I was going, and where we’d stop along the road.

  • Destination: every student in this group is going to write a poem.

  • The way there: one poem, two stories, and a writing warm-up.

Who is your communication aimed at? You might not speak to High School students. But the adults you pitch your communication to can be just as distracted and disengaged (they’ve just mastered the art of pretending to pay attention).

But I'm pretty convinced these three tips work anywhere.

Identify common ground.

Disrupt expectations.

Know where you’re going, and break it into sections.


Does your team need help crafting more effective communication? Want to learn how to make a message stick? Let's chat.

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