Effective communication is one of the most crucial skills needed to succeed in today's busy business world. Ideas are great, inventions can change lives, but without the ability to effectively communicate to potential consumers or corporations it will be nearly impossible to see those initial concepts come to fruition.
Spring Arbor University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership builds tomorrow's communication leaders today through the principles of effective communication. Here are five key concepts for setting an effective communication strategy to set you on the path to strategic success:
1. Get At Your Goal
As our graduate program mentors will tell you, clearly stating your goal from the outset is central to an effective communications strategy.. Setting this desired outcome from the very beginning will make the subsequent development of your strategy more efficient and effective, so carefully consider what you hope to achieve.
In addition, you can assess why you seek to achieve this goal. By situating your communication goals with your "big picture" timeline, you can feel more confident with both your message and your motivation to broadcast it.
2. Become Acquainted with Your Audience
Alongside the determination of your ultimate strategic goals, it is also essential that you understand your audience and their needs. Without aligning their interests with yours, you will run the risk of trying to attract a clientele that will remain unconvinced or seek to have their needs met elsewhere. In other words, knowing your audience will allow you to tailor your strategy to their set of demands, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will take notice of the product or service you are trying to sell them.
3. Engage with an Emotional Connection
Using this knowledge of your audience and their specific needs, you can build a connection with them by appealing to their sense of humanity. Building this connection can pay off, big time: according to data published in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article, Millennial consumers were significantly more likely to invest in a product and repeatedly use that product when they felt an emotional tie. Accordingly, it is important that you tell your story from a relatable perspective and communicate in a way that elicits an emotional response from your audience. People respond to emotion, so it is important to reach out from your heart to reach the hearts of others.
4. Sell with Simplicity, Substance and Problem Solving
You can bolster the emotional connection of your strategy with the substance of your product and the problems it can solve. Your communications strategy must clearly and concisely state what your production or concept offers, as well as what makes it superior to its competition.
This isn't a time to puff up your promotion with braggadocio; rather, be straightforward and offer your audience a clear and compelling set of points that set you apart from the field. Incorporating this substance into your strategy will not only complement your overall plan but it will also encourage your target audience to take prompt action.
5. Revisit Regularly
Once you've tapped into a selling communications strategy, take the time to congratulate your team but don't rest on your laurels. Audiences change, as do their needs and wants, so consider your communications strategy as ever evolving. Return to your strategy regularly to ensure that your plan is still accomplishing these key elements and realign if necessary. By doing so, your communications strategy can continue to maintain its maximum effectiveness.
For our Spring Arbor University students in the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership online program, these principles are reinforced throughout our 18-month curriculum with real-world examples, professional mentors from various industries, and in-depth case studies. This article covers the basics; graduates of the Spring Arbor Strategic Communication and Leadership degree program, though, will be primed with much more information to excel as communicators and as professionals.