It occurs to me that whether it’s in person, using traditional tools, or here in the echo chamber (a.k.a. social media) that great communications remain difficult. Why? Because it’s not the toolset; it’s not the ability to be friendly; and it’s definitely not a personal brand. On the contrary, simplicity matters more (Image: the almost perfect circle by enggul).
This post assumes you understand the stakeholder and can give them value. It assumes you are using the right media forms to reach out. If you’re really good, you already have relationships in play. How do you get you through the noise?
Well, as we have learned repeatedly over the years. Simplicity in communications. But as we most recently learned from the Heaths, simple is not easy. In fact it takes a concerted and consistent effort, regardless of the media form.
Here are six tips that I personally practice to make my outreach as effective as possible:
1) Outlines and frameworks: Good strategic communications usually have forethought. Creating outlines and frameworks to everything from blog posts and emails to major proposals and books forces you to structure your thoughts.
2) Take the time to communicate the obvious: For example, with this post I just wanted to write the six tips. But without context and a thesis, the tips would have been random and probably would have seemed tactical. Just because the logic makes sense to you, doesn’t mean people have enough information to come to the same conclusion.
3) Thesis: Always start with a great intro that communicates your thesis. Get people’s interest right away. If it’s a longer communications, start subsections with section-specific thesis and intros. Similarly, if it’s a complicated communication, repeat again with a conclusion. Again, it doesn’t matter whether this is for a speech or a white paper.
4) Brevity: Speaking simply means concise dialogue. If you have a hard time with this, practice using Twitter. One thing this social network (besides being part of a real community) will teach you is brevity. Take the time edit and cut the fat.
5) Great headlines: Blog posts, titles, section headlines, presentations, etc. Try to make a snappy headline that communicates exactly what will be delivered. This is a skill I learned from my Dad, who used to be managing editor of the Philadelphia Daily news and won two local Pulitzer awards for his headline writing.
6) Be real (or sub in personality or transparency or authenticity or…): The great lesson from social media: Make sure there’s some grit and real personality within your communications. Eloquent rhetoric means something, but it means a heck of a lot more when people can sense a persona with real experiences behind it.