Five tips for Effective Communication

Effective communication doesn’t sound that difficult – after all we can all speak and we all learned to write when we are at school. So why do so many companies find it so difficult to get it right? Two reasons: they don’t give sufficient thought to the message or the audience; and then they lack the confidence to deliver the message and be themselves. Here are my five tips. Follow these and you’ll be well on the way to effective communication:

1 Know what you want to say

Structure and focus are important. In a media-rich world everyone has something else they could be reading or watching so you have to clarify your proposition or ‘the story’ and avoid rambling. You also need to know what you want the target to do next

2 Know who you are talking to

Style, tone, level of sophistication – these all need to be tuned to your target consumer/client/reader. What do they want, what don’t they want? What preconceptions do they already hold about you, your products/service or market?

3 Understand why they might want to hear what you have to say

People are busy. Your communications need to respond to a need on their part – even if they don’t know of the need themselves. Understand their concerns and issues and add value from the outset.

4 Select your media

Channel selection is the most complicated aspect of this whole business and it does, or should, shape how you communicate – but the fundamental messages should be the same irrespective of the media. And remember, most people use more than one channel. Integration is key – good communication works across multiple channels, each one supporting the other and moving the target towards brand engagement etc.

5 Deliver your message

Don’t be coy. Business is about selling – products, services, information or opinion – so communication should always have an end goal. In marketing it’s about building brand engagement and moving towards sales. In internal communications, it’s about being open, building loyalty, and sharing best practice.