Sarah Browning is a freelance people communication specialist and has been working with charities, not-for-profit and Higher Education organisations since 2003. She is a certified member of the Institute of Internal Communications (CIIC) and a member of CharityComms.
In this guest blog, she offers three tips when planning communication for your business.
As a small business owner, sometimes it can feel like your work is never done. There’s always another task on your ‘to do’ list that will take you towards your goal and simultaneously take up more of your time. Communicating well about your work and how you help your clients takes time and effort – but get it right and it is one of the most powerful things you can be doing to succeed.
Effective communication is like a game of catch. If we are playing catch, I throw the ball and you have to catch it and, ideally, throw it back to me. If you drop – or dodge – the ball, then I’ve just thrown something at you and missed. In the same way, if you simply send an email, issue a newsletter or publish a tweet, but no-one reads and understands it, then you have not communicated effectively. You’ve just lobbed something and missed.
So here are 3 tips for ensuring that your communication is as effective as possible:
Top Tip #1 – Be clear on why you are communicating
Before you put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or mouth to presentation, you need to think about what you are trying to achieve. How can your communication activity support the objectives and direction of your business? Do you want to increase understanding of your service or product amongst your target customer base so that you get more orders? Or get more sign ups to your newsletter? Or start conversations about customer needs? These are just a few examples. Whatever you’re trying to do, you need to know that from the start.
Top Tip #2 – Understand your audience and their perspective
Think about who your audience for communication will be. Different groups will have different needs, so remember to list everyone you want to reach out to. Consider what motivates and engages them, as well as what they already know and/or understand about your topic. These factors will all have an influence on what you say and how you say it. Whether their previous experience of your subject has been positive, negative or indifferent, you are never starting from zero.
Top Tip #3 – Tell your story simply and in an engaging way
Make sure that you include the ‘so what?’ factor – give them a reason to care enough about what you are telling them to take action. Use the knowledge you have gathered whilst following tip 2 to make sure the reason is compelling to them and not just to you. Keeping things simple can also be difficult when the business is your baby and you know everything about it; be tough and honest with yourself about the ‘need to knows’ and ‘nice to knows’ and only include the bits that will motivate your audience to do something.
Contact me to find out how I can help you:
Phone: 07740 861 293