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Anonymous Career Advice

Failing To Get My Message Across

In this weeks anonymous career advice, we tackle a problem many managers and leaders face, not being able to get their message across.

Dear Focus, I seem to struggle to get my message across to my company. My leadership team suggests it’s down to how I communicate, how can I improve?

For almost every leader, internal communications and landing a message has never been as challenging as it is today.
Why? Today there are too many channels to send and land a message, emails go unread, internal instant messengers are often ignored or skim read and there is no sense of urgency or importance.
Then there is the challenge of choice of language and more often than not sentiment can be difficult to understand and land as one message for everyone.

Over the past three years, there has been a shift to creating richer content when these communications are not made in person, typically video has been something many leaders have tried to embrace but the delivery mechanism is still email or instant messenger.

Questions to ask yourself?

  • Are you the best person to send the message?
    • If no, who would be the best to deliver the message?
  • Who is the best person at delivering a message in your organisation?
    If someone else is better, leverage them and their connection with the teams.
  • Have you watched any important speeches or watched free materials on speech rating or internal comms?
    There is a lot of free content that will help you deliver your messages
  • Can you use a mix of audio, written and video?
    It can seem like more work, however, making your message apply across different formats helps the message to land and will become shareable internally like it would on social networks.
  • Do you have a set of communication communications within your business to understand important communications and how urgent they are?
    Remember an email from the HiPPO does not mean it is important.
  • If you had to pick just one channel to deliver your message, which channel would it be?
  • Which channels land for you and your colleagues?
  • Do you explain the essential communications in the most simplistic and understandable way possible? Do you sense check any of the language you include?
  • Are you using any localised words which do not translate well?
  • Have you looked at the time you send these messages?
    The time that emails are sent are often too late or at busy times and can be ignored. Choose early, just before lunch or towards 16.00 (timezones are a pain to compete with).
  • If this was delivered by a large company as an advertising campaign, what formats would they use?
    What can you learn from this?

You have plenty to think about, I would consider leveraging free content online to help you become more compelling, speaking to those who can land a message and working with them on delivery and speaking to the team around you to help them spread the information in a multi-person comms attack vs trying to deliver one knock out punch.

If you are looking for a quicker fix, I would concentrate on:
(1) what you want to say – consider writing post-it notes out and then typing up or recording,
(2) how you want to deliver it (text-based vs video vs audio recording, email vs messenger) and
(3) how you ask for feedback
(4) how you follow up.

Best of luck.

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