resources. sequel talks.

11 May 2021

Emotional connection in an overloaded world

As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Sequel film producer Claudi Schneider asks how communication can best cut through the noise to make an emotional connection at a time when an ‘always on’ culture is adding to employees’ stress.

This week’s an opportunity to reflect on how we’ve all been affected by the ongoing disruption to our usual, familiar patterns and routines and how connections with family, friends, colleagues and communities have been affected.

During the pandemic, most of us have been forced to work from home and to connect digitally with the world, constantly switched on to email, MS Teams, video meetings, Zoom, the news, our social channels, juggling work and life online.

And from a communicator’s perspective this has caused a conundrum. With so much information now fighting online for the audience’s attention, how do we cut through the noise? How do we make sure that the content we are creating is actually getting through and being seen or heard, and then registering enough to make an impact?

Deborah Hulme talked in a previous guest blog about how we are living with information overload and its impact as we are constantly distracted all day, every day. There’s so much messaging inside and outside of work that our brains are having to actively filter and ignore. The increased rate of attention deficit trait as a result of this constant distraction and the addictive nature of social media is having a significant impact on mental health, and our ability to concentrate, focus and be productive.

So what’s the answer? How can communicators make the important stand out?

I think the answer is that communications have to be even more relevant to the audience.

We see this a lot in our film and video work. People are emotional beings. Now more than ever we need the content we see to be relevant to us, to make an immediate emotional connection so that we don’t switch off or filter it out as we are distracted by the next thing.

Our film work has to stand out and be visually arresting from the first scene to grab initial attention, and then every message needs to tell us something interesting, something important – something that will make a difference to us.

Authenticity and honesty are also crucial – there is no time for generic messages or dressing up the truth.

We’ve seen from the increase in self-shot footage projects in the past 12 months that when leaders speak openly and honestly with their colleagues on the important topics that affect them – like support for mental health and wellbeing, or sharing thanks for hard work and contribution, talking about what’s happening in the business – that the levels of trust and pride grow exponentially.

People connect with great stories; they resonate with their peers; they respond to emotion and honest testimony and at the moment, are particularly looking for answers, purpose and something to believe in.

As we transition to new ways of working and balancing our work and personal lives, the successful communications – the ones that cut through the noise – will be those that are human, that are authentic, that emotionally connect and are relevant, understanding what the audience needs and wants to hear.