17hats Ambassadors / Communication

Spring Clean Your Communication Approach

Communication is one of those things that we’ve all heard about throughout the decades of our personal and professional lives. 

We know that it’s important and we know that it has to be done with intent, but in the haste of running and growing the small businesses that we loyally dedicate our time to, we forget how essential our words and their impact are. 

Since the average adult attention span is clocking in at a measly seven seconds, our ability to communicate, and do it well is really at an all-time high. And with our worlds being completely bombarded with the latest message of the hour, remember that other people’s worlds (perhaps your clients’) are being bombarded with these same messages as well. 

So, how might we intentionally approach our communication strategies to get the best possible outcome? I’m going to ask you three simple questions and offer insight to help you move forward with your communication plans in the best possible way. 

1. Are You Speaking Their Language?

Have you ever been involved in a conversation with someone who was clearly passionate about the subject, but at several points throughout the dialogue, you thought to yourself, “What is this person even talking about?”

If you’re not willing to say it, then I most certainly will. This has absolutely happened to me. Now, there was never a doubt in my mind that the person was engaged, passionate and truly being authentic, but their word selection, delivery style, and choice of examples did not bring me any closer to understanding what it was that they were trying to communicate. 

Recognizing that your current and potential clients come from an array of backgrounds and experiences, means that the way that we have to be committed to connecting and communicating with them must be diverse and with them in mind as well. 

No matter how cutting edge, groundbreaking or innovative your product or service is, if it’s not being communicated in a way that resonates with them, their world, their needs, and their expectations, your words can fall flat. 

The next time that you plan to engage in a conversation, write up an email or start drafting your next company communication and ask yourself, “Am I being intentional about speaking their language?”

2. Is It Actionable?

Sharing big news feels good, doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t want people to know when you’ve gotten a big win, closed a major deal, or even surpassed your goals? 

But, is sharing that (or sharing anything) without thinking through it, truly fruitful? We all get an equal 168 hours per week (surprising, right?). And as a small and growing business owner, properly allocating that time is so incredibly essential. The next time that you get that itch to share anything with your customer and client base, pause for a moment and ask, “What is it that I actually want people to do?” 

While a temporary round of applause or a barrage of social media likes and shares may feel good, what is it that you really want? Do you want people to:

  • Sign up for something
  • Purchase something
  • Listen to something 
  • Share something

Whatever it is that you REALLY want them to do as part of your communication should be clearly stated. 

The next time that you get ready to craft a message or make a statement, ask yourself, “Is this actionable?”

3. Where Are You Meeting Them?

Now, don’t be confused here thinking that I’m talking about a physical location. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, meet people where they’re at, this is what I’m referring to. As much as you may want your audience or customers to do a certain thing, react in a certain way, or take a particular action, “are they actually capable of doing that?” 

Of course, you want to stretch people and challenge them when it’s appropriate, but if you’re expecting outcomes from your clients that are completely unreasonable, unreachable, or not likely, you have to take a dose of reality. 

The next time that you reach out to communicate with your community, ask yourself, “Am I meeting them where they’re at?”

Our ability to communicate effectively can be the difference between making a meaningful impact through our business efforts or not. By addressing key areas while communicating with your clients, you bring yourself closer to engaging in concise and impactful dialogue that helps them better understand your organization, its offerings, and its goals. 

Be mindful of:

  • speaking their language
  • making it actionable
  • meeting them where they’re at

Cheers to clear communication and continued growing and thriving businesses!

Jacqueline M. Baker is the founder of the leadership consultancy, Scarlet. She is also the author of the book The Unexpected Leader and host of the podcast, Just Start: From Ideas To Action