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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Never have humans talked, tweeted or texted more words — and found it more difficult to be heard.

Why it matters: In this era of nonstop noise, every person must be a skillful communicator. Yet most struggle at it.

  • Customers and employees are demanding to know what companies stand for. Most executives have been lousy at providing an answer.
  • Our remote and hybrid working world puts a premium on clarity and consistency of message. Most managers are unprepared.
  • When communication fails, teams and ideas fail. 30% of all project failures are the direct result of poor communication, according to a Project Management Institute study.

Here are a few tips we have learned running a media company that you can use to bust through the noise:

  1. Write like you speak. Jargon, throat-clearing and well-known background weigh your message down. Conversational language is captivating.
  2. Ruthlessly prioritize. Attention spans are short and shrinking. Accept it. Get to the point quickly so readers can move on. 60% to 80% of people will scan, not read, what you write, University of Maryland research found.
  3. Repetition matters. If you want someone to remember something, communicate crisply — and repeatedly. By the time you have annoyed yourself, others are probably starting to hear you.
  4. Diversify. Fast. Every person needs to be able to speak authoritatively — or listen authentically — about diversity, equity and inclusion. If you rolled your eyes at this one, get help, quick.

The big picture: The communications crisis isn’t confined to business or top leaders. The more noise and distraction, the more precision and efficiency matter in being heard — and remembered.

  • Just look at politics: Power no longer flows from position, seniority or money. It flows to those who master — or game — modern, short-burst communications on cable or Twitter.
  • Teachers, preachers, small-group leaders — everyone who communicates one-to-many — face similar challenges in penetrating brains rewired by quick-twitch technology.

Watch "The War for Attention: Communication Rules for a Hybrid Workforce" event here.

Go deeper

Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes to retire, will be CEO of Trump media org

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will retire at the end of the year and become CEO of Trump's new media organization.

Why it matters: Nunes, once considered a moderate member of the party, became one of the fiercest defenders of former President Donald Trump throughout both of Trump's impeachments and the Intel committee's Russia investigation.

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and have "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.