Stacy Cornay: echo chambers ruin communication
People often ask me how I generate ideas for my monthly column. Some are my own thoughts based on what I personally think is relevant at the time. Some are suggested to me by readers. But above all I practice what I preach. I consider my client first. What are their goals ? Who is their audience? And above all, do echo chambers influence my efforts?
In this case, my client is the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call. Their main goal is to provide interesting and useful information for you, their reader. Another consideration is that the column appears in the business section. Therefore, I already know a little about the goals of any column I write.
When crafting a column, I think a lot about what you might find challenging, helpful, or maybe even inspiring, in the space allotted. I imagine each of you, hoping to learn more about marketing and communication. Want to strengthen your skills. Intellectually strive to understand the most effective ways to communicate with employees, peers, the media and, most often, consumers and customers.
What do you consider when developing key messages for your business or organization? Do you just share what you want to share when communicating with others? Are you developing your messaging based on your audience? Did you consider different angles and perspectives? Are you looking for reviews? In marketing, if your message doesn’t translate into positive action, you’ve missed something along the way. You may be working in an echo chamber.
An echo chamber is an environment in which a person encounters only information or opinions that reflect and reinforce their own. Echo chambers can create misinformation and distort a person’s point of view, making it difficult for them to consider opposing viewpoints and discuss complicated topics. They are fueled in part by confirmation bias, which is the tendency to favor information that reinforces existing beliefs. Difficulty considering other points of view and confirmation bias are lethal to effective communication.
I’ve written about this before, but based on my observations, news trends, and readers’ requests, there’s still time.
There’s no perfect way to avoid echo chambers, but here are some tips that can help you stay on track. Make a habit of checking multiple sources to make sure you’re getting complete and unbiased information. Interact with people of different perspectives and be sure to discuss new ideas with facts, patience and respect. Remember that just because you want something to be true doesn’t make it a fact. All of these pitfalls can reinforce our own thoughts, but in the process you can unwittingly shut down your own creativity and ability to think independently.
Effective communication requires commitment. Echo chambers do not commit anyone. Without engagement, true engagement, professional communicators may think their audience sees the world the same way they do. But remember, echo chambers alienate those not in the chamber. And, echo chambers often point to a lack of diversity, equity, inclusion and bias.
In the echo chamber of the Internet, and elsewhere, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the best way to be seen and heard is to shout louder than everyone else. Ultimately, however, the best way to market yourself and your products is to perform at your best and make your best products. The goal is to connect with others. I like to think about the idea that truly motivating communication makes your business or organization smarter. Brilliant communication makes the customer smart.
Failure to do so results in failed engagement, and more.