What a Toddler Taught Me about Communicating

By Dennis Fischman

toddlers communicate

My nineteen-month-old niece was crying as if her heart would break.

Her heart was fine, actually.  It was her grandfather’s heart that was cracked open for a triple bypass, in a hospital an hour away.  So her mother had gone to the hospital, and I was spending the day taking care of her.  Alone.

“Honey, what do you want?” I pleaded with her.  And I thought, “If only she could tell me what she’s thinking.”

But she could.  She did tell me.  And your audience is telling you too.  Look and listen to what they do online, and you will find out what they want.

How does a toddler tell you what she wants?

Pointing.  My niece knows the milk is in the refrigerator, the bananas are on the table, and the TV remote is on the couch.  If she points at the table, you know she wants to eat a banana.  If she hands you the remote, it’s time for Bubble Guppies or Sesame Street.

Your audience knows where to find what they want online.  If they’re visiting your website or social media pages often, there’s something there they want.  So, find out where they’re pointing!  The pages, posts, or tweets they visit will tell you what will keep them coming back again and again.

Making happy noises.  My niece laughs, squeals, and talks excitedly in full sentences in a language I don’t understand when something makes her happy.

Your audience likes, shares, retweets, or recommends the content they like the best.  So, listen to their communications with other people to find out what kind of content will keep them gurgling with delight.

Keeping to a routine.  My niece gets up around the same time each day.  Five hours later, it’s time for her nap.  If it’s around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon and she’s rubbing her eyes, I know it’s time to take her to her cot.

Your audience is online at certain times more than others.  Find out their pattern and you’ll know when to post.  They like reading more serious articles at certain hours and they go for distraction at other hours.  Keep track of that and you”ll know what content you should post when.

Oh, my brother-in-law is fine.  Thanks for asking!  And my niece is adorable.

So I’m back to my audience: you.  I’m posting in the before-work, after-lunch, and early evening hours when most of you read things online.  And I hope this message brightened your day a bit.

What else would you like to see on this blog?  You could let us keep figuring it out.  If I can do that with a toddler, we can do it with anybody!  But if you’re a grown-up and know how to use your words, write us and let us know what you want.

About Dennis:  Dennis Fischman is a Cause & Effective Associate. Contact Dennis here to discuss how your not for profit can win friends and get the support it needs to keep doing excellent work.

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

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