Maximize Performance Through Strategic Internal Communications

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Communication entails the conveying of a message from one person to another. It is an everyday occurrence, an on-going process, so much so that we overlook its strategic role in driving corporate performance and increasing profit margins. Nicholas Goh, Managing Director of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a Leading ISO 9001:2000 Certified Multilingual Communications Service Provider, is tuned in to the dynamic potential of strategic communications. He is pleased to share the following tip sheet on implementing strategic communications tools in the workplace.

Communication entails the conveying of a message from one person to another. It is an everyday occurrence, an on-going process, so much so that we overlook its strategic role in driving corporate performance and increasing profit margins.

Nicholas Goh, Managing Director of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a Leading ISO 9001:2000 Certified Multilingual Communications Service Provider, is tuned in to the dynamic potential of strategic communications. Verztec offers Translation and Localization services, which have helped companies improve their bottom lines and foster strong employee involvement. He is pleased to share the following tip sheet on implementing strategic communications tools in the workplace.

The goal of corporate communications is influence. By bringing across certain messages, one can affect employee opinion about work -related issues. Opinions drive performance. Without conviction, employees might work without enthusiasm, performing only the work they must to stay employed. When a better offer comes along, they will not hesitate to leave. In the meantime, they certainly are not innovating or excelling on behalf of a company whose values and actions are inconsistent with their own beliefs. Getting employees to behave in a manner consistent with company goals is a driving force behind nearly all strategic communications efforts. This can be achieved via a number of ways.

Know Your Audience

Communication is a two-way process. It does not comprise writing or speaking alone. Until the writing is read, the speaking heard and the message understood, there is no communication. To ensure that your message is understood, it is essential that you know your audience and their likely level of understanding. If you are addressing your colleague from the same specialty or discipline, you can usually assume the same understanding equal to your own. When addressing members from other departments or specialty, it is seldom wise to assume any specialist knowledge at all--technical terms should be explained and the usage of obfuscating jargon reduced. When presenting some detailed aspects of your work to a varied audience comprising specialist colleagues and management executives from the upper echelons, identify the lowest common element of your audience--whether by ability or qualification--and pitch your work accordingly.

Involve Your Audience

Audience involvement results in commitment. If the talk is sensible, sincere and not stereotyped, your audience will be more perceptive to the message that you are trying to deliver. One way to do this would be to delineate the relevance and immediacy of effect that your message has on your audience. People are not likely to be interested in remote issues. When conveying certain changes that have been implemented, illustrate, with examples, how these relate to the environment in which your staff and colleagues work and how it will impact them. Good speakers can empathize with the hopes and struggles of the average member of the audience, appreciate their prudence and ruminate on details that concern them. Suggestions and recommendations should be characterized by an intelligent engagement in the welfare of the people they are addressing. Greater involvement leads to better dialogue, which leads to better understanding and greater acceptance of what you are proposing.

Persuade Your Audience

One of the most effective persuasion tools is passion. If you are passionate about your vision, it is easy for others to be swayed by your enthusiasm. Building excitement with an audience must begin with your own enthusiasm. You may have all the facts and details at your fingertips, but if you cannot package and present them with passion and conviction, you are not going to get the job done. Moreover, if you have anything short of total commitment and belief in what you are saying, people can see right through it. One of the best ways is to tell your audience why you are so excited; you can start off by completing the following sentence: I am excited to be sharing this with you because... If you can craft a single sentence that articulates your state of mind, it can go a long way toward rallying your supporters as well as convincing the skeptics.

Keep It Simple

The fundamental principle applicable to all active communication modes is to communicate simply and clearly in such a manner that the message can readily be understood. Refrain from dazzling graphics or lengthy ruminations. Extraneous communications is onerous and take time away from work. The challenge is to present your basic ideas in terms that are so simple that a ten-year-old can understand what you are saying. Use short sentences, one statement per sentence. When you are on the verge of using a long word, stop and think. There is almost always a simpler way of saying the same thing. Remember that audience interest wanes after ten minutes. It is thus essential to keep your message short and simple so that it can be registered. Furthermore, employees may not have the luxury of time to sift through verbal or written largesse to get at the underlying meaning.

Reiterate Your Points

The spoken word is ephemeral. Repetition of the major points is therefore essential to ensure that they are understood. Ideas can be abstract until they are implemented. Sometimes, after you leave the room, ideas can get scrambled to denote things about which you never dreamed. If you don't think your audience had assimilated your message, walk them through some implementation scenarios before you leave the room.

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