President & CEO
Communicating effectively can be a steep and treacherous mountain to climb. One key principle is to always keep your audience in mind and consider how they will receive the information.
We are bombarded with messages through various channels. Digital communication alone includes many invasive and distracting forms; email, web, text, social channels, etc. So while you may spend hours/days/weeks crafting and honing your messaging, be mindful that your audience's capacity to receive your messaging in as you intended, may be less distracted than you would hope.
So often when crafting communication plans and executing them we lose that perspective. It can be very easy to move too quickly and fail to appreciate the perspective of those receiving the information. Take the following video for example. See how long it takes for you to figure out what is going on. Take note of how long you watch, when you check out and wonder why youre watching it, and when you actually click stop...
A rider and his snowmobile out for what seems a leisurely ride. The GoPro on the rider's helmet captures the event fully. This individual could be out for a ride through the mountains. Given the camera’s positioning and his point of view, we have no concept of what he is really doing.
Only after the 49th second in this video do we appreciate that this rider was facing a mountain and we had no concept of it because of our perspective. We fail to appreciate that in the first minute, because of the video camera’s positioning on the helmet, we don't really understand or appreciate what the rider is doing. The relationship you have to what you see/read is not always the same as others, nor should we expect it to be.
So how do we avoid such communications disconnects? Keep in mind your audience and their position. If you want to know how effective your message is, go and ask them. Don’t be afraid to engage your audience in a real, meaningful conversation. Their understanding of the subject matter and how much they would care about the message. This is critical – not how much you want them to but rather how much they will actually care about what you’re trying to communicate.
A few key pointers
§ Keep jargon to a minimum
§ Do it in person if you can
§ Avoid overloading readers
§ Keep it concise
§ Talk to your audience and get their feedback
Communicating key messaging is always an uphill battle but it doesn’t have to be as treacherous as vertical climb on a snowmobile.