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Communication That Leads to Open Doors

When you buy a ticket to a sporting event, there is an assumption that you have an interest in it. Whether you're spending time with other fans or you're invested in the outcome, there's always a reason behind your purchase. As essential as the ticket is, it only gets you in the door. Your objective for attending is what drives your experience after you get past the gate.

Similarly, in life, knowledge is your ticket and what you do with it propels you forward [1]. While wisdom is powerful, it is often fruitless on its own. Your ability to effectively communicate what you know is what brings on impact. That's why communication is essential in every aspect and stage of life.

In a Better Series podcast episode, veteran executive communications coach, Richard McKeown, shares insight on effective leadership communication. Founder & CEO of Richard McKeown Communications, McKeown addresses a range of topics from death by PowerPoint, to what business professionals usually do correctly vs. incorrectly in their communications.

While he focused on business leaders, many of his messages easily connect to the world of marketing. Themes of understanding your audience, the importance of key messages, and the power of social media overlap nicely.

McKeown noted that how the audience hears what you have to say is just as important, if not more important, than what you say. Marketing translation: "No matter how well you know your pitch, without understanding your audience, listening ears may not interpret it as you intended."

Whether you're face-to-face with your customer or separated by a digital barrier, every audience member always has three questions:

"Who are you? Why are you here? Why should I care?"

When creating any marketing strategy, pretend that your customer is eye-to-eye with you. Now, begin formulating the answers to these questions. Plotting this out will help you tailor your message for the recipient rather than the speaker.

While how you market will change based on who you're marketing to, what you are marketing will always remain the same. McKeown stressed the importance of always "having key messages," and marketers should follow suit. Your messages should make room for growth, development, and flexibility; as you grow in knowledge about your audience that is expected. However, consistency in key points and core principles will help you build trust and rapport with your listeners.

For both leadership communications and marketing, taking advantage of all the communication tools and platforms available is vital. One of those available platforms is social media. Stated best by McKeown, this platform is "important" but should only be used "wisely and intentionally."

When you get it right, the world of social media holds vast potential. Posting just to post will not garner favorable results and may harm your cause. When picking which social media outlets to use, McKeown laid out a few points to consider.

First, consider what you're trying to achieve by being a part of the social media community. This examination is first and foremost. Then assess if this is where your intended audience lives. If you determine your target customer is on social media, next is to know which platforms are the best meeting location for both you and them. Now decide what you're going to communicate, and it should be something that people care about.

Entering the realm of social media should not be done lightly. You don't want to do more harm than good on social media. It's vital to have a firm grasp on how to use the tool efficiently, a deep understanding of the messages you want to share, and a recognition of who your audience is.

No matter who you are, you'll find that having a ticket of knowledge opens many doors. However, to benefit from the opportunities behind those doors is directly tied to your ability to communicate well. The more you fine-tune and perfect your communication skills, the more your intended message will be received by your intended audience.

[1] Leaders, No More Talking to Self. BBB National Programs. 2019


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