The Need for Change Never Changes in Communications

Talent Zoo, a popular resource for jobs in advertising/marketing fields, offered an interesting article on change and communication today (check out the full article, “Greater Influence Through Better Communication“).  Although the communications/PR field relies heavily on keeping up and in touch with the ever-changing market influencers, PR professionals are sometimes guilty of being resistant to changing the way we communicate with our target audiences.  It’s time to break free of this mindset.  The article’s author, Stacey Hanke, founder and communication expert of Stacey Hanke Inc communication, offers the following advice:

“Therefore, the change I’m referring to goes beyond just focusing on what works for you. The change requires you to tap in to what is important to your listener and communicate using their words, emotions, and level of understanding. Click your idea to your listener’s problem by articulating your language in a way that provides them with solutions and opportunities. This is the moment in the conversation when you’ll begin to build trust and rapport. Position your ideas and message so your listener clicks in to act on what you have to say.”

We all know change isn’t easy but here is a way to make it a bit easier – Stacey offers an acronym that outlines key steps that will help you analyze your target audience and ensure that you are successfully reaching them.

K = Know:
What does my listener know about my topic and what is their experience? A Boomer will have a different perspective on how to build a relationship based on their experiences compared to a Millennial. 
 
N = Need:
What does my listener need to know to take action in the amount of time I have to present the message? A Boomer may want more detail to make a decision, whereas an Xer only needs the takeaways that will really impact them.
 
O = Opinion:
What is my listener’s opinion on my subject? Everyone has their own opinion based on what they know and what they need to know. 
 
If you are unsure of the answer before your conversation, then there are ways to gather this vital information. Ask open-ended questions at the beginning of the conversation in order to find out exactly what they know about your company, your products, and your services. What do they like about your competition? Most importantly, what areas of improvement are they hoping to see?
 
This line of questioning can help you choose your opening words carefully. Within 30 seconds or less your listener should know what it is you want them to do and exactly what’s in it for them.
 
W = Who:
Who are they? Dive further and ask: What do I want them to know about the topic? How will the action I want them to take benefit them? What are my listener’s goals? Why should my listeners be interested in this particular topic?

Get in the KNOW!

What changes have you made in your techniques to better analyze, define, and communicate with your target audiences?  Feel free to share your experiences and tips below.

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