Become a Communications Expert
I love the art of what we do but the science behind it really gets my juices flowing. Today, we are in the midst of the largest research study in effective communications on the planet. Of course, it’s called the Internet and it is delivering mountains of information to us on a daily basis, information that most of us simply choose to ignore. We all know why. We’re too busy marking off items on our To-Do list to pay attention. And then there’s the “mountain” part. It’s tough to sift through all the available data. And data is not knowledge and certainly not insight. Yet this data holds the key to your future.
In the face of this tsunami of information, how do we begin to get a handle on it? How can I make the information work for me? What’s the most efficient strategy to unlock the key to expertise behind effective communications?
Start asking questions.
Ask questions about broad categories of your specific responsibilities. If, for example, you’re in charge of daily or weekly communications to your targets, ask:
• What is the most effective rhetorical structure for headlines? The answer is out there.
• What is the ideal length of a communication? Two pages or less.
• Should I deliver an executive summary of a longer piece; i.e. “what you will learn”? Always.
• Do I have to illustrate each communique with a picture or diagram? Only if you wish to increase dramatically the likelihood you’ll be read.
• Can I just stick the content on my website or do I need a broader distribution strategy? Three guesses.
• When is the best day of the week to pull the trigger on the piece?
No, I’m not going to ask every single question or even give every single answer. That’s not the point. The point is you can know and it is your responsibility to know. Ours, too, but this is advice for you! If you have a staff, assign someone to be an expert on one thing in one month. If you are staff, assign yourself. Then move to the next thing. Pretty soon, you’ll have a battery of knowledge that will overpower the objections of any lawyer, accountant, consultant of any age or rank. They will be forced to concede your expertise and, thus, your position. And you will have marked off one of the big items on your To-Do List of Life. Small steps. Long journey.