What am I going to say?

This week I’m going to give you my thoughts on the content of effective communications. There are two sides to this – what does your audience want to hear and what do you want to tell them. Let’s start with the first one.

You may be thinking, what does it matter what they want to hear, it’s my communication, right? Wrong! For communication to be successful, it has to work for both of you. I’m not suggesting that you can’t tell them what you want to, just that you might need to amend how or when you say it to make it more likely to ‘land’.

I’ll give you an example. Last year I worked on internal communications for The Children’s Society’s Make Runaways Safe campaign. When I looked at what the internal audience wanted to hear about the campaign, I discovered that many were thinking about a previous campaign to help runaway children and wondering why the charity was covering old ground. In reality, the previous campaign was a success at the time but Government spending cuts are threatening the improvements that were made in child protection. We therefore explained this to the internal audience as context for the new campaign. Without this explanation, they may have been mentally stuck on ‘what happened last time’ or felt disinclined to get involved if they thought their previous efforts hadn’t made a difference.

So that’s why it’s important to think these things through, ask lots of questions and understand what will make a success of your communication.

And what do you want to tell them? We’ll come back to that next time.

Until next time

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