How we communicate with the world around us has always been important.
It’s how we create connection, exchange information and ideas, and how communities are built.
Over the past few weeks, clear and concise communication has become critical and it will continue to evolve as we continue to stay in isolation, practice social distancing and as to quote the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, ‘Stay in your bubble.’
The way in which we communicate has also changed drastically.
A month ago, we may have greeted friends and family with physical hugs, high fives or a firm pat on the back. And today, we do that with the aid of technology (and emojis!) over zoom, in text messages or on the phone.
The way we communicate is evolving and just like before COVID-19 came into existence, it varies from person to person.
I personally communicate more with non-verbal cues. A raised eyebrow, a grin, a wave. What I really love is emojis and how these can say far more, and in a friendlier tone sometimes, than words can.
How we communicate to others around us varies, as the situation changes. But body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, the words we choose, creating eye contact, the clothing we wear, the images we share, all contribute to our style of communication.
Brands, companies, individuals, all have their own specific style of communication. And it is conveyed via different platforms, such as social media, websites, email newsletters, images, or good old fashioned verbal conversation.
A clothing brand uses images to convey a mood, an emotion, a look. Where a law firm (for example) uses a language, specific to their industry to convey their message. That’s not to say that clothing brands don’t use industry specific words and law firms don’t use images to convey an idea – they just use them in different ratios, and in different ways.
Who we communicate to, and the setting in which we are in, can change our communication style. The way in which we talk to ourselves (internal self talk); the way we communicate in a professional setting, such as at work, a job interview; how we communicate to friends and family; to how we communicate at the supermarket or as we walk down a busy street.
Now more than ever, the emphasis is on clear, concise and easy to understand communication.
With so much information (and mis-information) floating around on the grapevine, the internet, the radio, etc, how do we know, as individuals and as businesses, what to do?
How do we follow the advice we are provided with?
Being able to understand and comprehend the information is crucial. If the messaging is mixed and there is conflicting advice, what happens?
As we’ve seen, there is confusion, and panic and let’s be honest, frustration and annoyance.
So how do we efficiently communicate?
How do we communicate in a way that our audience understands our message?
Your audience can be a friend, a work colleague, your brands target market, your students or your country.
I can only speak from my experience and I’d love to hear from you if you have experienced something else or have a new perspective to offer!
These are my top 3 tips for efficient communication:
Tip #1 | Become clear on your message.
Spending a few minutes, hours, days, thinking of what you want to say will save you time in the long run. When you think through all the possible scenarios, or questions, or alternatives, you eliminate what you don’t want to say. What you do want to say will become obvious. Using a thesaurus to find the right words can also help.
Tip #2 | Use language that everyone can understand.
It is tempting to use industry jargon, but keep in mind your audience. Would they understand that verbiage? Or would they end up being confused and frustrated, and because they don’t understand the language, would they then tune out, scroll on, change the channel?
Tip #3 | Be you.
Communicate as if you were talking to someone in person. If you’re a little sassy, add a little sass into your message; if appropriate, add a little humor into your wording; or, if your audience is more visual, use images and emojis to communicate.
Be conscious of keeping in mind your audience, and cater to what serves them, whilst maintaining your personality.
Communication is about creating connection, evoking emotion and creating a feeling of community and of belonging. It’s all about our story.
The exchange of information is happening, it’s just being done via different ways than we have previously experienced.
Even though we are all in our ‘bubbles’, we can still create a sense of connection, we can still evoke emotion, and communities are being built in ways that we have never seen before.
How are you creating connection with your community right now?
Perhaps what you are doing, may inspire another to try something new?
main image illustrations credit @black.illustrations