By Brad Addison - CoFactor Managing Partner; and communication, engagement and reputation management specialist
We live in an era where there is so much competing for people’s attention. One of the biggest challenges businesses face is communicating through the noise to generate the desired response.
No matter the message or medium, whether we’re ultimately looking to build awareness, inspire people to create a change in attitude or behaviour, or drive action or enquiries, our communication needs to be strategic to be effective.
Four tips to help you communicate with impact.
Make it purposeful
Strategy should always come before action. Before you start communicating, your purpose or what you’re trying to accomplish should be clear. The clearest message is one with intention.
- Your subject - What is your objective for communicating?
- Your point - What are you trying to convey?
- Your outline - What are the most important points?
Answering questions like these brings your objectives into focus so you can select the best way to accomplish your purpose. Ultimately, make sure you need to communicate now and on this subject at all.
Make it relevant
Ensure your message is targeted to the audience. By empathising with your audience's needs and interests you’ll better attract them and hold their attention. You need to know why the topic is relevant and valuable to them. Blanket, catch-all messages aren’t likely to cut through and create the change you’re seeking.
Consider the following questions:
- What's in it for them? - Why should they pay attention and engage with you?
- What do you most need your audience to know? - What are the most important points? A confused mind doesn’t buy or buy-into anything.
- How do you need the audience to feel? - Empathy? Trust? Urgency? Inspired? What information or format is required to create the desired emotion?
- What do you most need the audience to do? - What actions do you want the audience to take as a result of this communication?
Make it easy
The proof of effective communication is achieving its desired results. Impact is evident in understanding, acceptance and action. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you’re saying and what to do.
- Get to the point - People value clarity and brevity more than ever. They read content on their devices while waiting or in between tasks and you’ll lose them if they’re forced to work too hard.
- Say what you mean - Produce messages that are simple and articulate. Avoid flowery language, jargon, cliches, acronyms and technical terms.
- Be focused - Avoid presenting information in giant blocks. Organise it in a clear and logical way so the audience can easily find what they need. Use headings, bulleted lists, paragraphs and short sentences.
- Engage the viewer - Communicate thoughtfully, in ways that are easy to digest and pleasing to the eye. Visually arresting graphics and design. Clever infographics. A simple video rather than a long email.
Make it worth it
Communicating for the sake of it and burdening your audience, burns trust. Your message should be meaningful and worth engaging with. Ideally you’ll understand your audience well enough (or undertake specific research) to know what motivates them and their decision-making. If you can align your messages with their underlying motivations, they are more likely to act.
People resonate with messages that offer:
- Personal value - who I am and how I live my life
- An important outcome - address a need or appeal to outcomes I care about
- Social image - how I’m seen by others
Be compelling. Be distinctive. Connect and inspire. Use data to offer compelling insights. Tell a moving story. People are moved by stories that connect with them on an emotional level and drive them to a point of action. Reel them in to want to change.