The Medium is the Message

An important but often overlooked key to effective communication is how your listener receives what you have to say. Often we carefully rehearse our own words and stories, but fail to think about our audience’s posture and mindset.
Is your audience ready to hear what you have to say?

Of course, when the stakes are high, we do things like candlelit dinners and intentional eye contact, or ask things like, “Are you sitting down?” 

How can we give this kind of care to more of the messages we have to communicate?

When Geez picked print

We’re primarily print because our attention is limited. As we attend to more, we lose focus, depth and presence. With a printed page we can exercise concentration and strengthen our focus, feel more alive and have a sense of presence. Heaven forbid, we may even become hopeful creatures simply by reading the printed page…

– Editors of Geez Magazine, Summer 2014

Geez Magazine, whose slogan is “Contemplative Cultural Resistance”, produces a beautifully-designed and ad-free quarterly magazine that tackles tough issues with grace, contemplation and a desire to offer hope and redemption. In the summer of 2014, realizing that our culture was increasing shifting to online, on-demand, at-your-fingertips media, Geez decided to go against the trend and re-commit to print. By doing so, they baked their core message into the medium itself and created a contemplative space for their readers. You can’t effectively pick up a copy of Geez without putting down your screens.

Empathetic Communication

Geez is an extreme example of medium contributing to a message, but holds lessons for any message you’d like to communicate. Simple things like the design of a website, choice of imagery and tone of voice all contribute to a message and send the audience signals about how to digest the message. When we consider our listener’s current context and mindset, we can design a space that makes them more receptive to the message we’d like to communicate.

How can your medium contribute to the message you’re trying to get across?