In our last blog post, we wrote about the need to Leverage All Your Communications. To become adept at leadership communications, we have to better connect with our internal and external audiences. We need to become more strategic in our actions and consistently express value within our organization and with our enterprise’s key audience(s). We must build clarity into all our messages and extend those messages across all of our enterprise. And for our long-term sanity, it would be really good bonus to regain composure and control in the work we love. How can we, as communicators, achieve this state of bliss? Here are some tips for getting there:
Write down the dominant messages you want to communicate.
Simple, right? But do you really have a firm grasp of the messages that must appear in every communications tactic and vehicle that your enterprise undertakes? It’s not enough to think it—you must write it down. If you have difficulty articulating your key messages, it’s time for a messaging process to define or redefine, clearly and consistently, what you should be saying to internal and external audiences. The best processes are inclusive, bringing the organization together so that everyone has a hand in defining or redefining the messages. That way, everyone in the organization will be speaking with one voice. Seek outside advice if needed.
Assess whether your messages communicate value to your audience.
Do you find that you tend to talk to your audiences with lists of the things you do or accomplishments you have achieved? If yes, you’re falling behind in the value quotient. Revisit how you express what it is you really do and why it matters. Great messages must communicate benefits and value not just features. The most compelling messages let your audiences know what will be different or better by engaging with you, as in “So you can…,” “So you will achieve…,” and “So you gain an advantage.”
Determine whether your audience is hearing and understanding these messages.
If you’re not directly hearing from your audience in the course of everyday operations, it may be time to ask for input. Direct email is a great option, and free online survey tools can help measure your reach, penetration, and success. And of course, every time you talk to a donor, customer, client or other key audience, you have an opportunity to ask for input. Former Mayor Ed Koch was famous for asking New Yorkers, “How am I doing?” A great question, and one that organizations don’t ask their audiences enough.
Select vehicles that effectively communicate each message.
Review all of your communications vehicles to ensure that each is being used to most effectively connect with and elicit a desired response in your audience. Use the Wainger Group SCORE® Card to help you do this. If you’ve effectively assessed the success of each tactic, you’re in a terrific position to make a case for adding new opportunities and deleting outdated efforts.
Identify message intersections. Leverage.
Analyze every opportunity to put your value messages to work using different vehicles across all platforms. If your CEO makes a speech, would that be a great blog post or newsletter article as well? If one of your teams launches a new program with a brochure, couldn’t the content be used to help build attention through social media? Always, always remember that a great website is one of your most effective tools and that every communications vehicle has content that could be put to work in building a current, user-friendly online destination.
Let us know how you are leveraging your communications. And for more help in galvanizing your key audiences with communications that count, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.