Communicating in the new year

After the business of the holidays, the extra pounds and excessive gifts, we are almost back to reality, digging and sorting the priorities of the new year. Like most people, we simply exchange one set of overloaded tasks for another, going through the motions at lightning speed accompanied by claims of "where did 2018 go?"

The new year is time to reset. Just as we upgrade the phones and unplug the computers to allow for a reset, our minds and bodies need the same. My reset, albeit rushed and chaotic, resulted in a clear mind with a very uncluttered path to make 2018 phenomenal, both personally and professionally. Since, realistically, all my worlds co-exist simultaneously, there are no compartments.

One of my 2018 priorities is communicating, especially since this is one of the most requested topics and services I get pinged for. During my reset, I thought about how and when we communicate, what makes it effective, engaging, persuasive, and powerful enough to drive action. Whether such action is getting the kids to clean their rooms (epic failure!) or having a customer buy your product, communication and the accompanying messaging are at the crux of engagement and action.

I said "communicating" not "communication" -- the distinct difference is the active nature of "communicating." It doesn't end. Engaging the kids, friends and family is about consistency and frequency, which is an active pursuit. Unfortunately, neither the kids nor the husband (don't tell him I wrote this!) do not listen attentively to my every word and whim, nor do they act instantaneously (maybe this will be a long-awaited birthday gift!). We also know prospects do not become clients without persistent repetition, alternative messages via various mediums, to ensure we capture them at the right time.

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Powerful communication

What makes "communicating" powerful and engaging?

Firstly, authenticity. We live in a world of speed and rushed actions, rinse and repeat. We are all jaded. We can spot a fake, car salesman, a phone telemarketer within milliseconds.

Best way to combat boredom and ensuring you won't be ignored: Be you. Use your voice, recall your journey, and referring to the work of my friend MaryBeth Hyland (SparkVision and founder of Life Lens), use the experiences that have forged your life to understand the lens that colors your living. As for your organization: Identify your organizational culture, the collective voice your team/department use and act by. This authenticity should be at the core of your communication, ensuring a true connection to those you care about.

Then focus on consistency & frequency. Yes, you are the most interesting person in the world, speaking bluntly and engagingly, but without consistent follow-up, whether daily, weekly, quarterly, etc., you lose momentum. The kids need perpetual reminders. (I know, as parents, this drives us to insanity and wine!), as do our customers and our employers.

Use technology to set up reminders, leverage Hootsuite, CRMs, alerts and other tools to ensure you are communicating with those that matter.

Remember the Platinum Rule? Treat people as THEY want to be treated? Well, this applies to language. The younger generations prefer informality, shorthand acronyms (TTYL, LOL, SMH and a whole bunch of other stuff, I don't get at all!) and cursing is becoming part of mainstream vernacular as well.

Do your customers have a language preference? Spanish, Mandarin, ASL? I know with Latinos, communicating in Spanish is key to engagement, especially with unacculturated Latinos.

Lastly, use digital channels or social media, where people prefer to communicate. As of September 2017, Facebook had over 2 billion active users, YouTube over 1.5 billion. Digital is THE place to communicate consistently and frequently with your folks (even family - we have group pages). How do you leverage these media? Which audiences get what message? Consider dedicating resources to produce content, manage the posts and interactions, ensuring authentic presentation of you and your organization. It's where people are.

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Veronica Cool is founder of Cool & Associates LLC, a business management firm specializing in financial wellness and diverse segment marketing. Contact her at Veronica@CoolAssociatesLLC.com. Follow her on Twitter at @verocool.

Published: Fri, Jan 12, 2018

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