Top Tips for Differentiating Messages Among Key Audiences

What are Leaders Doing Wrong when Delivering Messages?

As someone who works to media train and presentation coach executives at organizations across all industries and sectors, the breadth of people I work with span all levels and experiences. No two executives are the same in their leadership and communication styles.

But there is one common mistake organizations tend to make when disseminating important information. I often see organizations using the same blanket messages for all different audiences. A lack of message differentiation means your messages will most likely fall on deaf ears.

Here are my tips on how to communicate effectively and tailor your messages to different audiences.

  • Employees: According to Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer, trust in employees as credible spokespeople for organizations is on the rise. In fact, in several areas, employees are viewed as the most trusted sources of information. Focus on building your relationship with colleagues during every hallway conversation, meeting and action you take. Each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce what matters to you and the organization, so do it purposefully. It is imperative you are quick to admit when you are wrong, and take meaningful action when you say you will. When employees trust their CEO, they are more willing to advocate for the company as a great place to work, recommend its products and services to friends and families and are much more likely to stay with the company.
  • Clients: Stress your partnership with them, reassure clients you care about their mission and values just as much as they do. Position yourself as part of the company, not just a vendor or outside counsel. You only succeed if they succeed.
  • Consumers: Personalize interactions with your consumers when possible and avoid blanketed communications. Listen to feedback and proactively share updates — whether it be on a recall, change within the organization or an update on an ongoing situation. Make a concerted effort to make consumers feel involved and a part of the organization. Social media is an invaluable tool in achieving this as it allows consumers a platform to easily have one-to-one interaction with the organization.
  • Investors: Transparency within the organization and with investors is key. Provide regular updates and additional communication when needed. Nail down messages beforehand in order to get your point across. Stay consistent with what your organization’s leaders are delivering, and deliver clear and on-point messages.
  • Media: Think of journalists, bloggers and influencers as a conduit to all of these audiences — employees, clients, consumers and investors. Ensure your messages can act as compelling headlines and provide succinct examples to support the company’s directive.

Businesses have an opportunity to lead and make a positive, lasting impact right now. They are the most trusted to keep pace in the face of change — more than government, NGOs and media. Organizations that communicate successfully to their audiences will be able to lead and build trust, setting the company up for success for years to come.

Mary Gannon is an executive vice president and head of media and presentation coaching in Chicago.


Originally published at www.edelman.com on April 19, 2016.

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