There is theory behind good communication and whenever you’re looking at making changes either to your individual style or the overall corporate internal communication, there are six things to consider for impactful communication:
1 – Focus on the Audience
You’re communicating for them, not for you. For that to work, develop a true understanding of your target audience through research, persona creation or simply conversations with your team to understand preferences. This isn’t about how you like to be communicated with or the information you need, it’s about them. What you think works might not be what is right for your audience – you need them to be at the front of your mind at all times. Get to know them: what are the different stakeholder groups in your part of the business? What do they do every day? How can you reach them? How do they work? How do they communicate?
2 – Set a Clear Goal
What do you want people to think, feel, or do as a result of the message? Always be clear about why you are doing what you are doing – whether this is a meeting, a conversation, or an email – and be clear about why you’re doing it. Ask yourself:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Do you want them to be informed?
- Do you want them to do something differently?
3 – Use all aspects of communication, especially in a digital world
Some research tells us that 38% of what you say comes from the tone. This is hard to get through digital communication, so we have to use punctuation, emojis, timing, and more to make sure that we are using all the different aspects of impactful communication. Depending on where you are in the hierarchy will determine the importance of this too; more power = more consideration.
4 – Keep it Simple
Studies have shown and found that people think you’re less intelligent and less credible if you use long words when shorter words will do. Think about the first point, the audience, because if they are more verbal communicators than written ones this is even more important. Don’t overcomplicate messages and remember that any organisational acronyms won’t be understood by anyone who is new to the company – explain it all.
5 – Structure to Make Your Point
Be logical with how you structure your emails, presentations, documents, etc. Think about the point you’re going to make: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.
For example, a film/TV series or a supermarket flow shows how structure can help. In a TV series often there is a recap at the start and maybe a ‘next time on…’. In a supermarket, there is a familiar structure – fruit at the front, wine at the back!
6 – Adapt to the tool you’re using to communicate
How you communicate contributes to the message. You wouldn’t text someone to sack them because using that channel makes the message worse. Don’t get stuck in the same channel – PowerPoint/ meeting. And if you change it, you cannot just use the same content in a different place. How you write for a website is different from how you write an email, a presentation, or a script.
We can chat about whether workshops, 1:1 coaching, or The Field Model could help you make some changes to have more impact on your audience.