Went to a niece’s softball game today and also watched a short part of the Little League World Series. A ball field is a funny place with regard to communication. I noticed long ago that just about everything that is said is repeated or stated in pairs. “Good job! Good job!” “Play’s at second. Play’s at second.” “He can’t hit you. No way he can hit you.” In the dugout, the coach’s comments seemed to mimic/mirror one another. One would shout encouragement; another would repeat the same phrase. Once you notice this trend, it becomes quite comical (sorry to ruin your next baseball game).But in a class this week teaching folks how to help others learn their subject, it was noted that repetition is a powerful and often neglected method of teaching. You likely learned your mulitiplication tables through rote practice and repitition. The method for learning your multiplication tables was probably repeated practice (oops, already said that). Your mother even got in the act with, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…“But we have a way of thinking that once we say something, everyone got it. Rick Warren, noted author of The Purpose Driven Life, says leaders should remind their constituencies every 28 days on exactly what it is the organization should be about. When you have but one chance to communicate, repetition is an important and powerful way to drive home a point. Called different things by different folks (I’ve heard it called the Rule of Seven by marketers — say it seven times to get it to take), the principle is the same. We will learn and remember (like it or not) what is repeated to us. Parents know this, and cringe at what their children learn from others when outside their control.Not to say you have to say it the same way. Creative speakers will find ways to say the same thing different ways, and really make their point stick. But you’ll hear it until it sticks.
Use (creative) repetition to drive your point home.