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We all instinctively know that if we tip a bucket of ice over someone, they're likely to respond in a predictable way.

Yes we humans learn from an early age that if we treat people badly, they're likely to behave equally badly. A bucket of ice may well be delivered in the hope that the recipient might share some good humour, but it's more likely that the unwelcome little ice bergs will prompt a frantic physical reaction, closely followed by physical violence upon the prankster.

But what about daily communications and the art and science of marketing? Well we should constantly remind ourselves that every communication is a dialogue, even if it's presented as one-way and not interactive. We always seek something in return because it's a reciprocal deal.

Five golden rules of communication and marketing are worth remembering:

  1. Start by identifying your audience and understanding what they want and need.
  2. Use the language of your target, otherwise you might find you're talking to yourself.
  3. Use "please" and "thank you" often. They're probably the most engaging phrases in communication
  4. Ask questions of the audience so that they feel engaged.
  5. Communicate as if speaking to an individual person, which of course you are, even when communicating with millions.

I know, these points should be obvious to anyone, but look around and see how often people, businesses, organisations and politicians communicate as if we're all dumb.

But of course if one wants to sell a product or idea, one would hope that the communication doesn't amount to the proverbial bucket of ice.

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