The most important tip to enhance your communications may be most obvious — and the most overlooked.
Put yourself in your audience’s place. Who are they? What do they care about? What do they want to hear? How does your news affect them?
If you’re merging with another organization, your employees’ first question isn’t about the stock price, it’s likely, Do I still have a job?
Make it easy for them
Too often well-meaning leaders send out dry, long-winded messages that miss the mark. People are continually bombarded with information from dozens of sources, ranging from television and radio to Twitter, text messages, and Facebook. You’re competing with all of these for their attention and have to adjust your communications accordingly.
Let me explain. Let’s say you plan to open a clothing store. Would you locate it in a remote, out-of-the way spot, or near a high-traffic area? In most cases, you’d locate near where customers are, instead of making them drive out of their way.
The same holds true for communications. Your messages should be easy to access, read, and understand. If you make people work too much, you’ll lose them.
Make your point quickly
If your message fails to engage people immediately, you’re running the risk that they’ll move on before hearing the real news. And if the news is bad, it looks like you’re burying it.
Write TO people, not FROM the organization
This is critical. Use “you”, “your” and “we” often, and avoid referring to readers in the third person. Here are two examples that illustrate this point:
- Employees who sign up for the Health Walk will be eligible for the $100 gift card raffle.
- You could win a $100 gift card. Sign up for the Health Walk and you’ll be entered in our raffle.
Because the second is more conversational, and speaks to readers, not at them, it’s much more effective.
Longer messages may impress the boss, but they’re less likely to be read. Social media, the web, and texting have trained us to be readers of blurbs, not chapters.