Pop quiz: Which of these do you agree with?
A. Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality
B. Communication is not something I equate with creativity
C. Creativity in communication is prized and hard to obtain
D. Creativity in communication is best left to artisans
E. Creativity is just a trendy buzzword and grab-bag term that I tend to ignore
Picasso, whose birthday was on 25 October, became one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century, and has a lasting legacy that got us thinking about creativity – particularly the role it plays in creating effective and engaging communication.
One of the reasons Picasso’s skills are so vital when it comes to communication is because visualisation is paramount in our communication schema. In fact, you have likely heard the findings of Dr Albert Mehrabian’s 1950’s study: only 7 per cent of communications is verbal, while 38 per cent is tonal and 55 per cent is visual – body language and facial expression. This why creativity is such an important component in how we communicate.
At the c word we think the key to successful communication comes from being creative. Though we acknowledge being creative is no easy task. Not all of us have the skill of Picasso!
So what is creativity?
Richard Foster, a lecturer in management at Yale and director of McKinsey attempts to answer this question in an excellent article titled “What Is Creativity?”
“Creative solutions are insightful, they’re novel, they’re simple, they’re elegant, and they’re generative,” he says. “When you find one creative idea, more often than not it triggers other ideas in the same fashion.”
When crafting communication, your key messages should be:
Simply put, they should be creative. Do your communication objects deliver you clear, concise and creative communication?
The American poet, Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote:
“To create one must be able to respond. Creativity is the ability to respond to all that goes on around us, to choose from the hundreds of possibilities of though, feeling, action, and reaction and to put these together in a unique response, expression or message that carries moment, passion and meaning. In this sense, loss of our creative milieu means finding ourselves limited to only one choice, divested of, suppressing, or censoring feelings and thoughts, not acting, not saying, doing or being,”
So how do you become more creative in your communication?
Start by reading:
- Get to the Point! Painless Advice for Writing Memos, Letters, and E-Mails Your Colleagues and Clients will Understand, Elizabeth Danziger
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg
- Six Thinking Hats, Edward De Bono
- You Can Communicate: PR Secrets for Personal Success, Stephen Manallack
- Writing that Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business, Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson
Next week: creative storytelling