We live in the information age. Sit on a train, stand and watch people at traffic lights and observe how we are constantly plugged into smart phones, forever consuming bits of information, photographs, comments, statements, news pieces, mash ups…
What messages do we take away and how do we take them away? Clearly getting the communication right from the source is very important.
You need to be cognizant that once information is out there, it’s impossible to control. So before we talk about effective communication, first consider should you really communicate it? What is to be gained in pushing a message out there? Are you taking a photo for the sake of taking the photo or because you want to share the story? Are you pushing it out there with the right amount of thought, editing and positive frame of mind? Has it taken a lot of energy to put that message out there with little energy coming back?
Images for example, once online can be easily manipulated. Maybe it’s playful meme. Maybe it can be photo shopped to enhance some boobs, lose some weight, create a controversy. Once it’s out there it’s no longer yours. Same goes with an opinion.
So what’s involved in getting communication right across all of the channels?
Let’s face it we got traditional means of communication like face-to-face, one to many in a group and then even the traditional phone call. Nowadays travel agents need to be conversant with press releases, blogs, Facebook updates emails… There is a lot of skill in that and there were no parents to tell us about it and very few people are formally educated on it.
So which skills transfer across all mediums to make effective communications?
Actually, it’s not even skills but process. Yes, on occasion I get it wrong, probably like anyone who doesn’t their own internal media advisor.
So here’s my three tips are clear, integrated and effective communication across all mediums.
- Think the message through
I have been criticised and acclaimed for being an over analyser. I think about things a lot, analyse permutations and work through a variety of different endpoints. Slightly obsessive/compulsive, the trait of a “worrier” but it’s just the way I sort things in my head.
I like to bounce ideas off other people and especially with key messages, it’s amazing how in the crafting process you can lose perspective of what really matters only to have a staff member say “dude, that sounds stupid”.
- Be authentic
I see the two levels of authenticity as starting off with the right intention. If you start off with the intention of deceiving people it is only a matter of time until you are caught out. The next Federal election will be an interesting one as undoubtedly this government has been caught out time and time again breaking key election promises. I suspect accountability is the next phase of our ever evolving social media cycle.
Secondly, if something changes, share your changing thoughts. It’s hard for somebody else to point out your being deceptive if you have already pointed out you got something wrong.
- Simple and strong
Hard at times to keep messages simple because it’s so tempting to share all of the thought process that went into play for that wonderfully crafted message that you release into the wild…. Rule of thumb is no more than three messages, delivered sharply, succinctly and is easy to remember.
It also makes it easy for you, your staff or your organisation to replicate and share the message from a single source of truth.