Are you listening to me?

Often as an internal communicator in the charity and higher education sectors I find myself needing to communicate with diverse groups of people. From fundraisers to policy makers, from researchers to HR managers, from practice staff to tutors. And many more besides!

This is one of the parts of my job that I love best: getting to know and understand different groups of people. Sometimes the urgency of a project means I have to get to know a group very quickly, for other projects I have more time to gain a deeper understanding. Whatever the time available, the key is to ask questions and really listen to the answers.

This is my top tip for anyone who wants to communicate effectively: plan your questions well and listen to what people tell you. That way you will get to understand what is important in the world of your audience e.g. their students’ understanding of a topic. From that you can work out why they might react the way they do, for example not responding to your staff survey because they have students’ exams to mark. And then you can work out what to do about it e.g. run your survey at a different time or make it clear from the start that it will only take 5 minutes of their time.

An effective piece of communication depends completely on your ability to achieve your intended purpose with your intended audience. And listening to what they have to say is a big step along the way.

Until next time


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