The beginning of a New Year is a time of renewal and reset. It’s a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. As a consultant who focuses on helping companies and organizations clarify and deliver messages that connect, convince and influence, I believe that January is a terrific time to think about how you can enhance communication to help your business soar. Here are five resolutions to consider.
1. First, ask, “Why?”
Before writing emails, posting on social media or calling a meeting, ask yourself why you are communicating. Do you want to share information that will benefit your audience? Are you trying to persuade people to act? Do you have to share uncomfortable news? Do you want to motivate or encourage a course of action? Being clear on the “why” will guide both what and how you communicate.
2. Make your message about your audience—and not you.
Far too many of us are stuck in the “Prism of Me,” focused on what we want to tell others about ourselves, rather than targeting what your audience or recipient wants and needs that we can provide. When you make your client, your team, your colleagues, and/or your investors the hero of your narrative, you become meaningful and relevant. When you simply toss out messages about what you do, your credentials, your accolades, and your past client successes—without explaining how what you do connects to the yearnings, aspirations, or concerns of your audience—you will be ignored. Rethink your messaging from the perspective of your audience and speak through a “Prism of Value.”
3. Make a plan.
Operating without a communications plan is like driving to an unknown destination without GPS or a map. You may get where you want to go, but you will probably waste time, gas, and emotional energy on the way. A good communications plan identifies key audiences, business objectives, targeted messages and the best means to deliver them, resources and budget, and the metrics for success. Keep the plan simple and manageable. Think about what is realistic given your staff and budgets. Review six steps to creating a successful plan.
4. Make yourself accountable to the plan.
Don’t make a plan and then shove it on a shelf. If you’ve kept it simple and direct, you should be able to follow it. You may need to adjust it throughout the year as market conditions, staffing and other issues arise. But the plan should be within reach and consulted and updated frequently.
5. Commit to more face time.
Sending email or texts is easy and quick and feels painless. But nothing can fully replace being across the table in the same room for connecting. Much has been written about the challenge of conveying emotion and intent in email. (Emojis don’t do it). So get out of your chair and walk down the hall to talk to colleagues. Pick up a phone to talk with clients and partners. Better yet, share coffee or a meal.
Make 2020 your year to strengthen your connections with the people without whom you can’t be successful.
Not sure how to create a communications plan? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you our communications plan template. And to turbo-charge your brand in 2020, get a copy of my book Prism of Value: Connect, Convince and Influence When It Matters Most.