How important is it to produce communication that is both targeted at a specific audience and easily understood by that audience? For me this is such a critical part of the work of the communicator and so often the two elements are overlooked. We spend more time talking about channels and content that we don’t focus on some of the basics.
The two elements of identifying the audience and then using a tone and form of language or video that is understood by them are critical to both internal and external communication. We have to know who we are trying to engage with and what messages they respond best too.
Tonight the aspect of developing a tone suitable for corporate messaging to employees was an important part of the discussion in Commschat. Among the questions were whether it was possible to have a single tone when dealing with a range of employees and what impact it had on levels of engagement. It is a critical issue. Too often communicators are put under pressure to write material for the frontline staff that is really only appropriate for the top management. However, the bosses are the ones that are signing off the communication. There has to be education about the importance of having a clear narrative but then adapting it so that it resonates with all levels and roles within the organisation.
Journalists know that they have to adapt their writing to the house style and the target audience. If you read any national newspaper you can see this targeting taking place within all the articles. This is what we should be working to achieve with all the communication activity but particularly the internal audience. If we don’t achieve it then we will lack an authenticity to what we are trying to share.
It is also vital to be able to identify and understand your audience. I become incredibly frustrated when I read communication plans that say under audience – public or local people. We need to move beyond that and really know where to connect. But that is a subject for another blog.
Communicators need to reconnect themselves with the basics on a regular basis to ensure that we don’t neglect the foundations of effective communication work.