"If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.”
–Nate Elliot, marketing technology advisor
During times of transformation, there’s no such thing as over-communicating.
In Episode 4 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—Navigating Transformation—Stella Low, Chief Communications Officer at Apple, notes that business leaders should keep the cadence of their communications frequent and consistent at all times. There’s no room for rumors to fill in the gaps. Instead, your messages should be honest and authentic.
Here are Stella’s favorite tips for using communication as a bridge between the known and unknown.
Know your audience
Your communication should always be audience-focused. To minimize fear and uncertainty surrounding transformation, it’s important to understand where your audience is coming from.
What are their fears, expectations, and thought processes? Are they nervous or unsure where they fit into your company’s new and developing strategy? All of these concerns are valid and worth exploring.
Your audience wants to talk with people they trust. They want reassurance that not just the future includes them, but that they are seen as an integral, valuable part of the bigger picture. This is why focus groups, polls, and surveys are so impactful. They give business leaders and audience members a chance to listen and engage so everyone is on the same page.
Tactic comes last
Many business professionals make the mistake of diving straight into action. In fact, Stella calls this out as one of the most common and ineffective pitfalls of communication. Instead, she recommends the following process before jumping to the tactic:
- Pause and take a step back
- Consider what you want to say
- Identify your target audience
- Brainstorm various mediums for execution
By taking this moment of reflection, your communication is given a broader, more intentional scope. It allows you to consider the best approach for your purpose, like individual conversations, organized small groups, or facilitated communication.
No one wants to be bored to death by communication. And let’s face it, emails aren’t always inspiring.
Stella’s advice: Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Ask yourself—what’s the best and most interesting way to reach the audience I’m targeting? What does the data show that is working and what's not?
For example, if your audience is constantly traveling via car or plane, consider making a podcast for optimal reach. Be deliberate about the medium you choose and bring it to life through engaging storytelling.