Why? In the workplace and marketplace, communication is key to shaping people’s thinking and behavior—from motivating employees to perform at their best to attracting and retaining loyal, profitable customers. Throughout my career, I’ve been fascinated by the power of words and images to influence, inspire and impel action.
So while showering this morning, I pondered how professional communicators, such as our firm, help companies do what they seem unable to do for themselves. In between lathering up and rinsing off, here’s what I came up with.
- Speak and write in plain English; don’t use jargon. And remember: Wit can be the icing on the
cake, but don’t make it the cake.
- While less is nearly always more, use as many words as needed to be clear and understood.
- The truth sets you free. It’s important to respect people’s intelligence.
- Delivering bad news “right” wins brownie points.
- Make your messages believable and defensible. Use communications to build credibility and
value, not to blow hot air.
- Align all your parts and pieces; be consistent in tone, look and manner. It takes time for people
to get to know you, let alone trust you.
- Stand for something; give your employees and customers something greater to be part of. It’s
human nature to seek a sense of purpose.
- What you say is as important as when, how and to whom you say it. Consider the timing,
vehicles and venues for your message. Most importantly, think carefully about what resonates
with and is most relevant to your audiences. Don’t waste opportunities.
Sounds easy, right? Well, more often than not, people and companies find this hard to do. The rewards, however, far outweigh the effort. Mastering your internal and external communications does matter. Today, “designed communications” is not “a nice to have.” It’s the “secret sauce” that can make the difference between success and failure.