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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Is your communication CLEAR? Yes. When we repeat and reinforce.

Group of young children sitting on the floor with a teacher

Do you remember reading Green Eggs and Ham or The Very Hungry Caterpillar when you were young, or to your children?


Why are these stories so memorable? Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle creatively employed the communication principle of repetition to build a captivating story.


Repetition also helped you learn the ABCs. And, when you were a bit older, your multiplication tables.


Repetition is a powerful communication tool and it’s not only for children. Consider how repetition of lyrics in your favorite songs makes them stick in your memory.


The R in CLEAR stands for Repeat and Reinforce. This post will explain why and how to repeat and reinforce to create CLEAR communication.


Why is repetition useful for creating clear communication?

Messages sent once are unlikely to be attended to, understood, remembered, or put into practice. Messages are more effective when they are repeated and reinforced.


When an audience sees and hears a message multiple times, the message becomes familiar, understanding increases, and the message is remembered and more likely put into action.


Here are four ways repetition helps create clear communication:


Repetition enhances learning

When information is repeated it strengthens the neural connections in the brain associated with learning.


Repetition creates muscle memory

Repeating a skill develops muscle memory making it easier to perform with efficiency and accuracy.


Repetition promotes confidence

As information and skills are repeated successfully, confidence grows. As confidence grows, self-efficacy stimulates taking positive action.


Repetition can strengthen relationships

Repeating activities and creating routines enhances security and safety in relationships. Examples include reading a favorite story or creating a bedtime ritual with children, having regular meals together as a family, or taking a daily walk with a neighbor.


How can repetition be used to create clear communication?

Repetition can be incorporated into communication by creating patterns both visually and verbally, establishing routines, repeating message delivery, and encouraging repeated practice.


Visual repetition includes the repeated use of graphics, images, colors, designs, or fonts that are associated with the message. The visual pattern created is memorable and meaningful. This type of repetition is used in branding.


Verbal repetition utilizes creative messaging with repeated phrasing. The words create a memorable and meaningful pattern. This type of repetition is used to create memorable slogans.


Creating routines for communication includes things such as daily social media posts and weekly newsletters. These build connections and positive expectations.


Advertisers recognize the benefit of repetition to build awareness which leads to learning and eventually to action. Delivering a non-sales message repeatedly has similar benefits.


Communicators can encourage audiences to repeat messages to build knowledge and skills.


I repeat… Messages sent once are unlikely to be attended to, understood, remembered, or put into practice. Messages are more effective when they are repeated and reinforced.


When an audience sees and hears a message multiple times, the message becomes familiar, understanding increases, and the message is remembered and more likely put into action.


Is your communication CLEAR? Yes. When we...


In our next post, we will review the 5 principles in CLEAR.


Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” ~ Zig Ziglar


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