Thirteen Ways to Get Your Message Across
1. Know Your Audience.
What do they care about? What will get their attention? Why should they listen to you? (Being the boss isn’t good enough.) What prior information do they have on the subject? What’s in it for them? On a 1 – 10 scale, are they receptive – neutral – hostile?
2. Use the Best Communication Channels
Print, e-mail, social media, bulletin board, radio/TV, video conference, group meetings, slide presentations: Which channels will connect with your audience most effectively? Use multiple channels to provide reinforcement and more complete coverage.
3.Choose the Best Time.
...of the year, month, week, day. Some messages are urgent and time-sensitive; for others, choose a time when your audience will be available and there will be few distractions. Avoid other calendar events that could reduce the impact of your message. Use these time slots whenever possible:
1st or 2nd week of the month
Tuesday or Thursday
10 – 12 am, 1 – 3 pm.
4. Have a Clear Objective
What is the main purpose of the message? News? Visibility? Credibility? Education? Information? Persuasion? Action? Choose one. How will you measure your success?\
5. KISS: Keep it Simple – and Short
Use plain speaking words in the active voice. In the general public the average vocabulary and reading levels are about the 8th grade. (Your audience may be an exception). Young audiences are used to tweets and sound bites. Most people won’t read, listen to or watch a long or complicated story. You have about 6 seconds to grab their attention and less than 1 minute to hold it. Sum up the essential background and get to the point. No one needs to have a history lesson or know how the watch was made.
6. Make it Crystal Clear.
Use short sentences with action verbs and the simplest words possible. Be direct; no nuances or ambiguities. In print, organize the message logically with headings, subheadings and bullet points (remember the Rule of 3.) Don’t exceed 4 bullet points on a PowerPoint slide. Use boldface and colors for emphasis. Be sure to answer the “So what?” question.
7. Ask for Action
Ask for the response you want and tell them how to do it. (phone, e-mail, reply, check box, take a short survey, mail-it-in). Make it easy and convenient and repeat your request at the end.
8. Give an Incentive
To encourage action, offer a premium: A free report, discount coupon, free sample, trial membership, lottery ticket, an opt-in benefit. Few can resist the word FREE. Point out any consequences of failure to act.
9.Repeat Your Core Message
Near the end, summarize your key points (no more than five). In print or web copy, make them stand out with headline fonts, boldface or color, and a bullet list. (Few get it the first time.)
10. Tag It
Create a memory hook in a short headline tag. (Jingles and slogans do work!) When you’re finished, what’s the one thing you want them to remember?
11. Anticipate Questions
Don’t deal with all the if’s, and’s and but’s in your main message. Cover them in a FAQ list and provide quick and easy access to it.
12. Ask For Feedback
Provide contact information so that people can follow up with questions or comments.
Check with some key members of your audience to see how your message was received. Did they read it? If so, did they “get it”? Was any part confusing? Did something get lost in translation? Find out what the “buzz” was about. Be open to constructive criticism.
13. Imbed It In An Event
Take advantage of company or industry meetings to announce and convey your message. Generate curiosity and interest by promoting the announcement in advance (Example: Apple Computer’s expected announcement of new products at the annual Consumer Electronics Conference.) If you don’t have a convenient forum, create a special event with your message as the keynote or theme.
Remember: The natural consequence of communication is —
For help with marketing communications
or call and talk with Bob at 1-860-338-3169