Communication is all about conveying information through an exchange of thoughts, ideas and feelings. Good communication needs to be a meaningful exchange between two or more parties and, for your message to be heard and understood, it needs to be clear, concise and communicated with confidence.
Communication skills are something that we all need to constantly develop and keep in check. Whether it is communicating to our work colleagues, clients, family, pets - the list goes on and there’s always room for improvement!
Marketing and communication go hand in hand and as the world evolves and changes around us we must adapt accordingly to ensure that our intended message reaches our intended receiver.
‘We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 adverting messages a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5000 a day’. Jay Walker-Smith, Yankelovich Consumer Research
The diagram below provides a simple visual reference of what happens during the communication process. It helps demonstrate that it’s not quite as simple as we’d like it to be.
The issue with communication is often the ‘interpretation’ element involved. We may know what we’re trying to communicate but how our message is received by the other party very much depends on their own viewpoint, previous experience and expectation to piece everything together and arrive at their own understanding.
And, without receiving direct feedback, you may never know if the message was received and understood as you intended it to be. Think of times when you have misinterpreted an email by reading something into it that wasn’t intended by the writer.
Add to this a lot of noisy interruptions from other sources; the whole thing is quite tricky to navigate!
So, how can we improve our communication?
- Consider your audience and make them your focus and not you
- Define what the purpose of the communication is – what outcome do you want from the receiver of your message?
- Don’t neglect the context in which the communication exchange takes place; it has great impact on how and what the receiver absorbs.
- Use language that your intended audience will understand – no jargon or technical babble.
- Remember that less is more, be specific and be concise.
- Chose the right medium for the message – make use of the various communication channels available to you but ensure that the message fits the medium – one size doesn’t fit all and you will need to adjust your message accordingly.
- Lead with the heart, follow with the brain – although we all like to think of ourselves as rationale, logical beings, we are biologically programmed to lead with our heart not our head.
- Remember call-to-actions. A great piece of communication needs to be complete. It needs to provide the audience with everything they need to be informed and, if applicable, take action.
- Be creative - creativity can break your audience away from routine, conditioned patterns and literally help them see things in a completely new light.
If you need any help with your marketing communications then please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 01242 236600.