Clear as.....

Next week I’ll be speaking to the folks at the Shellharbour Small Business Network about how to get your message across with impact.

These days we’re all bombarded with so much noise. It’s easy to think, especially if you’re a small business owner, that you’re never going to be heard unless you shout the loudest or do something outlandish to get noticed.

I work with plenty of organisations who find themselves in the public eye for all the wrong reasons. There’s never any problem getting noticed when something goes off the rails.

There’s also something to be said for the good old publicity stunt, that will give your business its 15 minutes of fame. But that’s just the point: it doesn’t last long. It’s also highly risky, and could be expensive.

Far better, in my view, to cut through the noise simply by being crystal-clear in the way you communicate. Build solid, genuine relationships with your customers and communicate with them – whether through emails, letters, your website, your blog, whatever – in plain language that’s easy to understand.

Any good communication starts with knowing your audience. I mean really knowing them. Put yourself in their shoes; how can you communicate so that your words truly resonate with them? In the past, businesses and organisations have used the “decide and tell” approach. They’ve assumed that their message is important enough for people to automatically listen. But that never was the case, and it certainly isn’t true now in this age of communication bombardment.

It’s time to flip the equation around, and make your communication all about your audience or customers. Respect them by not making them work hard just to understand what you’re saying. Write in personal language, using “you”, “I’, and “we” as much as possible. Write the way you speak; if you’re emailing a customer, imagine you’re having the conversation with them and use that as the basis for your communication.

If you’re clear and consistent – and are genuine about wanting to establish a meaningful relationship with your customers – your messages will hit their mark.