Communication is a skill every leader, brand, and company engages in, whether or not you put effort into being good at it. It doesn’t matter if it is your website copy, internal presentations, product descriptions, onboarding emails or something else, how you communicate impacts both your customers’ experience with your brand, as well as their success.
As you work to figure out how to increase your sales, retain more of your top talent, or even to improve the customer experience your company delivers, don’t think you have to go out in search of the latest trends and tactics. Simply focus on improving the ways you already communicate, to start seeing marked improvements. Here are three simple ways to start.
1. Ask yourself "why should they care?"
Over the weekend, I served as a coach to three women who were part of a two-day boot camp designed to help them craft and deliver a talk on conference stages. The one piece of feedback that I gave to each of my mentees, came down to a simple question: Why should I care?
Anytime you deliver a message, ask yourself what is most important to our audience. Too often we get caught up in details that are important to us, particularly when we feel we have an important message to share.
But to communicate effectively, you’ve got to put your audience first. Think about where they are in their journey, and what information they need from you to pave the way to take the next step forward.
Once my mentees started focusing on their audience, the "so what?" of each of their messages became clear. As a result, they were able to craft and deliver their speeches in a manner that was received with rave reviews.
2. Include relevant stories.
Once you gain clarity on what your audience most needs to hear from you, focus on reinforcing your message with stories. It doesn’t matter what department you work in, storytelling is an essential component of getting things done.
Use stories to illustrate facts and figures. Use stories to highlight why an issue is so important. Use stories to keep your audience interested, and to help them remember your message long after you’re gone.
The stories can be about your brand, your customers, and your team. The stories can be unrelated to your industry or even business. The stories can be fact or fiction.
The golden rule of storytelling is to ensure that you use them.
Once I started telling stories on my social media posts, engagement went way up. Instead of just sharing tidbits of wisdom related to my topic, I started posting photos that told a story on its own and then adding in more context with the captions below.
Engagement went up because it made the content more relatable. People were able to connect with me more as a human and find common threads in their own lives based on the stories I shared.
3. Focus on transmitting energy.
Not enough thought goes into what we want people to feel as a result of what we communicate. It’s a shame because feelings are a key driver of behavior.
When you decide in advance what emotion your customers need to feel to take the next step forward in their journey, you can then craft your communications in a manner that induces that emotion.
Earlier this year Nike released their popular "Dream Crazier" ad narrated by Serena Williams. It struck a nerve with millions of people who saw it, compelling them to share it with others. The ad dripped with inspiration, which is foundational to Nike’s mission of "delivering inspiration and innovation to every athlete."
Because they knew in advance that they wanted their customers to feel inspired, it made it easier for them to construct a message that delivered on that intention.
Becoming a better communicator is a skill that will pay many dividends for your company. Try out the tips above. As you gain traction, start helping your team improve your proficiency with it as well. The investment in time and effort will prove more than worth it.
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