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OPINION APRIL 2018

Becoming a strategic communicator by Alison Ellis, director, Korero

HOW we communicate both at work and at home has transformed in recent years. Driven by an explosion of social media channels and self-publishing tools, your clients’ and your employees’ expectations are a world away from just a few years ago. A 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that while trust in businesses around the world is declining, with the majority placed in ‘distrust territory’, there is some renewed confidence in experts, notably technical experts and academics as well as a recovering belief in those CEOs who choose to speak out on issues. For organisations who are willing to invest in supporting their management team to become effective communicators – adept at both internal and external communications, the benefits can be significant. A Towers Watson study found that companies with highly effective communications practices see 47% higher returns to their shareholders. When leadership works in partnership with their communications professionals, effective engagement strategies that are sustainable and deliver long-term benefits can unfold. These not only help the bottom line but increase brand loyalty and engagement, innovation and productivity.

What’s required from leaders? Be involved – effective communications needs proactive support from the top down. Leaders need to set the example, driving and participating in communications activity. Be strategic – ensure your communications programme is fully aligned to deliver your business goals. Be an enabler – actively support your communications team and empower your employees and other stakeholders to better communicate and amplify your story externally. Be supportive – support and train managers to become effective communicators, motivating teams and improving decision making. Be authentic – this is one of the most critical aspects. People have become jaded in the ‘fake news’ era. They want to hear from people they truly believe in. Have confidence in being you. When developing your communications approach consider the following: 1. Communicate for your audience not for yourself: Think, what is it that your audience needs to hear rather than what you want to tell them. Consider the most effective way to share that information and when.

2. Stay focused on your core messages: Cramming too many details into your communications dilutes your overall message. What it is you want people to remember? More importantly, what you want them to tell others? 3. Think long-term gain as well as short-term need: It’s easy to be pulled into shortterm tactics to address immediate requirements – whether that be to achieve a monthly sales target or address an immediate issue. While some activity does need to be reactive, communications should always be underpinned by a sustained longer-term strategy. 4. Build a pool of ambassadors: Taking a more strategic approach to who you are engaging with can bring fresh perspective but also generate leads from new sources. It makes business sense for leaders to embrace the power of strategic communications. Leaving the safety net of the corporate line and encouraging their teams to do the same requires a change in mindset that at first may seem daunting but will ultimately be empowering for all involved.

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Profile for AGCC

April 2018 Business Bulletin  

In the the April issue we focus on Digital. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazine, covering th...

April 2018 Business Bulletin  

In the the April issue we focus on Digital. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazine, covering th...