What does it take for someone to hear you? When you are developing business it takes a lot. How can a potential referral source send you business if he can’t remember your practice area? Most lawyers think you just have to tell someone the practice area you are in once and they will remember it… not likely.

As you probably know I am a fan of Peter Bregman, in his Fast Company article… The Mouthwash Principle: For Max Effectiveness at Work, Rinse and Repeat, he has great insights I would like to share with you. Peter writes…

If you want to make an impact on people, to influence their behavior in some way, you have to keep sharing the message, coming at it from different angles and at different times long after you think you’re done.

Politicians know this as they give their stump speeches for the thousandth time. So do advertisers, who keep repeating the same jingle over and over again until it sticks in your head.

This may sound obvious, but it’s not what most of us do. Many managers and leaders say something once, twice, maybe three times, and expect the message to get through. Then they get exasperated when other people’s behavior deviates from the expectations that were so clearly stated.

Here’s the problem: There’s a big difference between saying something and hearing it.

When you say something, it’s probably been brewing for some time. You’ve already tossed it around in your head, maybe talked to a few other people about it, and then come to a final decision or thought. In other words, you had a process. Plus, you’re the one who is saying it so it’s probably more important to you than anyone else. Saying it once seems plenty.

But when you hear it or read it, you’re doing so for the first time and in the context of many other messages that are flying at you. It’s not your message. For the message to rise above the cacophony of other messages and thoughts, it needs to be repeated.

So even though repeating it several times seems excessive to you when you’re speaking, it’s barely enough to get the message across. It’s the mouthwash principle.

Peter captured it… We have the benefit of processing a thought before we state it and it is crystal clear to US… but the receiver of the message hasn’t had the time to process. So it doesn’t stick. How can you alter this? Give them the time to process.  Repeat your specialty over and over again. Add a little story to it. Say it in different ways. Then say it again… and again… and again!