Frequency, repetition and the power of saying it more than once
“I’m only going to tell you this once…”
There’s a lot to be said for conditioning your audience to listen carefully. If they know that valuable information is only going to come at them once, they’ll be more alert for it.
Alas, as the nois-o-sphere gets noisier still, this approach is hard to justify.
Repetition increases the chance that you get heard.
Repetition also increases (for a while) the authority and believability of what you have to say. Listeners go from awareness of the message to understanding to trust. Yes, the step after that is annoyance, which is the risk the marketer always faces.
Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.
In many ways, the mantra of permission conflicts with the mechanics of frequency. If people are loaning you their attention and you’re delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages, your need for frequency goes way down.
If you’re using frequency as a tactic to make up for the fact that you’re being ignored, you can certainly do better.
For the rest of us though, saying it twice may in fact be twice as good as saying it once.
Great speeches, keynote addresses, and generally, great communication involves repetition. I remember a family therapy session I was forced to attend post-parent’s divorce where the therapist trained us all to listen to one another and repeat it back to them, ending with the phrase: “Have I got that right?” It was annoying (totally had a lot to do with me being 15), but I think that clear communication requires repetition. ALSO…it occurs to me that repetition is very important with setting boundaries and saying NO, something I struggle with. I tend to get up all my courage, set a boundary and then say no, and end up completely flummoxed when the person ignores me. I’ve found that more often than not, the boundary/no has to be set anywhere from 3-5 times or more before it is heard and respected.