Four Communication Priorities in 2023
January 10, 2023
Over the last three years, communication strategy has evolved at the same pace as many other areas of our lives – warp speed. What worked three years ago, or three months ago, has evolved and in order to be effective communicators, we must also continue to learn and evolve. This can mean a variety of things, depending upon your position or audience, but there are several truths that will resonate across all communication – personally and professionally – that will need to be at the center of our strategy for 2023.
People – employees, colleagues, friends, strangers – have been inundated with messages from all areas of their lives that each require a specific amount of attention or focus. This focus is required for the communication to have its desired effect on action with its audience – if I don’t read the email, I won’t know about the change, and then won’t be able to plan or act accordingly. In addition, with the continued advance of individualization in technology and marketing, the number of unique messages we receive each day continues to grow.
How can we, as communicators, break through the clutter and create messages that are effective and resonate with our audiences? Here are four elements to a successful communication:
Keep it Concise
As the old adage points out, say what you mean and mean what you say. This has never been more important than today. Audiences want relevant messages that convey the information and context they need to know. Shorter isn’t always better, but value in the information provided is KEY. Keep your messages concise and your information pertinent and your audience will continue to grant you their attention.
Focus on Collaboration
With more information being shared, we must work closely with our peers across the organization to put together communication that addresses an entire topic. Something that impacts one area of the operations likely has impacts that may need to be communicated in another area. Work together on the front end while developing communication, across an organization, to ensure that you are getting the full picture and including each of the key elements in one communication versus many covering separate but related topics. This keeps the number of touches on any particular topic lower, reduces duplication or confusion, and increases the chances that the information will be read and retained.
Don’t Fear Emotion
All audiences need to see emotion. Period. This looks different for every communicator or communication, but as Theodore Roosevelt told us, people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. This advice has transcended time, and in fact, may have become more important over the last several years as we have all dealt with what can feel like a never-ending onslaught of change. Make sure people know that you are invested in them, understand the impacts of your communication and are prepared to support them – however that plays out. And, at the very least, recognize emotion in others and use that to craft messaging, determine your approach and re-evaluate if necessary.
Segment for Impact
Not everyone needs to know everything. There are some things that everyone needs to know. But again, not everyone needs to know everything. If you are sending information to an audience that doesn’t find it valuable, you are eroding your communication brand with them and you are rendering your future communications less valuable. In fact, you may be creating a barrier with that audience that will result in them ignoring information from you – even when it is valuable. Make sure you are looking at audience groups, understanding business goals for communication and segmenting your audiences accordingly. Create new distribution lists, send out surveys or just ask around the water cooler – but chances are, less communication that is more tailored will gain better results.
These ideas are not groundbreaking, but in our work at Wixted & Company, we often see that the best results come from good fundamentals applied consistently with intention. Communication doesn’t have to be perfect, and there will be missteps and learnings along the way. However, by trying to ensure that your audience is getting what they need from you in a way that resonates with them, you will be able to accomplish more, raise your profile and increase the value of communication in your organization.
Blog by Jake Brus