Mar 3, 2021


March 3rd 2021

Recent examples of shambolic communications by the government around Covid-19 restrictions make a very obvious point: when you are speaking to the public, it’s really important to get your message clear and accurate. More important, ensure you have everyone in your relevant group singing from the same hymnsheet. I’m calling it the art of hymnsheeting.

Having conflicting messages being transmitted from what is supposed to be a united front, not only creates confusion; it also undermines confidence and trust in the source of the communication, in this case the government. Public confidence and trust in the government and its messaging in a time of Covid is so important that any undermining of it is very serious and could, in this case, actually cost lives. Hymnsheeting makes a difference.

Sometimes mixed messages or crossed wires can just be annoying and confusing, but for any large organisation, especially one which is accountable to the public, it is really worth making an effort to have all the voices using the platform of the organisation, sing from the same hymnsheet.

When they do, it’s very powerful. It’s like a choir singing in tune, or an orchestra in its full expression. And the listener will notice when someone is out of tune or not on time. It will certainly undermine the reputation of an organisation and what its promise to the public is.

It takes something for an organisation, especially a big one, to be able to sing from the same hymnsheet, all the time. But it is really worth the effort. It builds confidence and trust by demonstrating that not only does it have a sense of common purpose, but that it is also able to give real expression to it.

So go on, practice your hymnsheeting.