Easter Egg Hunt Uncovers a Basic Communications Lesson

By Frances Cox, Principal, The Fratelli Group

The Easter Bunny reminded me of an important communications lesson this past weekend.

We hosted an Easter egg hunt for friends and family. I was the emcee. I gathered all the egg hunters around, explained the boundaries of the search and then let them loose to fill their baskets with chocolate-stuffed bounty.

The hunt commenced. No basket came back empty. Fun was had by all.

Hours later, as our guests were leaving, a parent said to me, “You know, I think that was my child’s first egg hunt.”

It struck me — I hadn’t explained what an Easter egg hunt was before I started the game. I launched into the rules and boundaries of the hidden eggs, but I didn’t bother with the basics of the game. I assumed all my egg hunters knew what they were doing.

And that’s the important communications lesson I had forgotten: Don’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about. Level set. Explain. Define. Avoid jargon and insider terminology. Certainly, some will have this knowledge, but some won’t. It takes 11 touches — or 11 interactions — with your audience for a message to sink in. Explanations and gentle reminders are valuable for winning friends, educating individuals and influencing people.

Rest assured, my unindoctrinated egg hunter did not suffer from my lapse in good communications judgment. She quickly caught on and came out on top in the final found-eggs count. But next year, before any egg is gathered, I will make sure all participants are well-versed in the basics of the hunt. I won’t let you down, Easter Bunny.