Strolling along a white sandy beach on a working vacation with my teenage daughter in the Bahamas this week, we spent our mornings searching for shells. (Okay, she kept her eyes open for cute guys, too, but that’s another matter.)

You know how it goes. First day, first beach walk, you stop for every pretty shell. After a while, though, you grow more selective. No matter how perfectly formed, most shells begin to look alike. Generic. Unremarkable. Boring. Until that one BOLD shell stands out and you simply must stop to pick it up and admire it. You may even take it with you.

Same with your leadership communications.

The more discerning the follower, the more they hold you to a higher standard. Seasoned peers, direct reports and clients are harder to influence, inspire and impact. They feel they’ve seen it all and heard it all. They’re a skeptical bunch. Question is: are your communications bold enough to stand out like a remarkable shell on the beach? Or are they ho-hum enough to be overlooked?

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