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Who they are, what they want, what motivates them. Only then can you tailor your messages appropriately.
You also need to be prepared for the fact that your audience is changing and evolving. Don’t assume that the communication strategies that worked well two years ago will still have the same effect today.
You will get far better results from your communication efforts if you try to engage with other people at a time when they are ready to engage with you.
Think carefully about communicating in the evening and the weekends – if you send out messages at these times, what are you saying to your staff? Where possible, save messages in your outbox and send them the next day or after 11 am on Monday.
What you say is less important than what other people want to hear.
To get people to respond to your communication in the way that you want, you need to pepper your messaging with statements that get them onside.
A good way to start is by using the phrase ‘thank you’.
It is an exchange that requires feedback.
For example, if you are asking someone to do something, you could add in the following comment: “If you’re having difficulties or challenges with the project that you want to raise, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.”
If your attempts at communication fail, blame yourself.
You clearly haven’t conveyed the message in a way that your audience wants to hear, at a time that works for them. Reflect on what might have gone wrong, so that you can do better next time, and then move on.
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Delivering a message in person makes it easier to pick up on signs that people have misunderstood parts of your message.
It's tempting to try to avoid difficult conversations, but this can cause further problems.
Not asking for clarification because of fear of looking incompetent in front of authority.
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In general, the higher up the audience, the less detail you should be providing. Frequently, executives get tuned out when they report to higher levels and provide too much detail about their topic.
FIX: Cater your comments to the highest level person in the room, and address what he or she will find valuable. Put the details in an appendix or have them ready so they're available, and you can easily pull them out if asked.
Using qualifiers such as "I think" or "we might" or "I hope to" before your points. It lacks confidence.
FIX: Start paying attention to how you use language, and if you're hiding behind qualifiers. Tape yourself or ask a colleague to take note of when you use them, and find a comfortable phrase to replace them such as "I plan to" or "I will."