THE goal of corporate communications is influence. Conveying certain messages can affect employee opinion about work-related issues.
Opinions drive performance. Without conviction, employees work without enthusiasm, performing only the work they must to stay employed. When a better offer comes along, they will not hesitate to leave.
In the meantime, they certainly are not innovating or excelling on behalf of a company whose values and actions are inconsistent with their own beliefs.
Getting employees to behave in a manner consistent with company goals is a driving force behind nearly all strategic communication. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
Know your audience
Communication is a two-way process. It does not comprise writing or speaking alone. Until the writing is read, the speaking heard and the message understood, there is no communication.
To ensure that your message is understood, it is essential that you know your audience. If you are addressing your colleague from the same specialty or discipline, you can usually assume the same understanding equal to your own.
When addressing members from other departments or specialty, it is seldom wise to assume any specialist knowledge at all - technical terms should be explained and the usage of complicated jargon reduced.
When presenting some detailed aspects of your work to a varied audience comprising specialist colleagues and management executives from the upper echelons, identify the lowest common element of your audience - whether by ability or qualification - and pitch your work accordingly.
Involve your listeners
Audience involvement results in commitment. If the talk is sensible, sincere and not stereotyped, your audience will be more perceptive to the message that you are trying to deliver.
One way to do this is to underline the relevance and the immediate effect your message will have on your audience.
People are not likely to be interested in remote issues. When conveying certain changes that have been implemented, illustrate, with examples, how these relate to the environment in which your staff and colleagues work and how it will impact them.
Good speakers can empathise with the hopes and struggles of the average members of the audience, appreciate their prudence and ruminate on details that concern them.
To be a good communicator, you have to engage the people you are addressing. Greater involvement leads to better dialogue, which leads to a better understanding and a greater acceptance of what you are proposing.
Persuade your people
One of the most effective persuasion tools is passion. If you are passionate about your vision, it is easy for others to be swayed by your enthusiasm.
Building excitement with an audience must begin with your own enthusiasm.
You may have all the facts and details at your fingertips, but if you cannot package and present them with passion and conviction, you are not going to get the job done.
Moreover, if you have anything short of total commitment and belief in what you are saying, people can see right through it.
One of the best ways is to tell your audience why you are so excited. You can start off by completing the following sentence: I am excited to be sharing this with you because...
If you can craft a single sentence that articulates your state of mind, it can go a long way toward rallying your supporters as well as convincing the sceptics.
Keep it simple
The fundamental principle applicable to all active communication modes is to present your message simply and clearly so that it can be readily understood.
Refrain from dazzling graphics or lengthy reflections. The challenge is to present your basic ideas in terms that are so simple that a 10-year-old can understand what you are saying.
Use short sentences. When you are on the verge of using a long word, stop and think. There is almost always a simpler way of saying the same thing. Remember that audience interest wanes after 10 minutes.
Keep in mind that employees may not have time to sift through your verbal or written meanderings to get to the real issues at hand.
Reiterate your points
The spoken word is ephemeral. A repetition of the major points is therefore essential to ensure that they are understood. Ideas can be abstract until they are implemented.
If you don't think your audience had assimilated your message, walk them through some implementation scenarios before you leave the room.