Updated: Apr 17, 2021
I recently shared my thoughts on carrying 2020 communications lessons into 2021, recognizing that not everything that happened in 2020 should be left behind. As the dust settles on our transition to 2021, it’s time to look at the way you’re communicating to those who matter most to your success – whether that’s your employees, customers or other external stakeholders. After all, they’re the ones that could make or break the year ahead for your company.
Consider the available channels
For some companies, this won’t take much time. For others, it may seem impossible to wrap your arms around the many ways your company communicates to employees and external stakeholders between all the emails, tweets and posts. But the first step is to understand all the information that’s hitting your stakeholders and how often they’re receiving it. Only then can you begin to determine if what you’re communicating is resonating.
Ask for feedback
The best way to know what people want is to ask them. When reaching out, ensure you have representation from all your key stakeholder groups. For instance, you may have conversations with leaders in your business, survey your employees, and hold focus groups with customers. In each case, you have an opportunity to hear directly from them about what you’re doing well and where you can improve when it comes to communication. This feedback may reveal blind spots you couldn’t have spotted otherwise. And absolutely be sure to enable two-way dialogue features in your channels wherever available, which allow users to comment on your information. Even company intranets offer this functionality, and it’s a great way to gather feedback.
Look at the numbers
In addition to the feedback you request, you’ll absolutely want to delve into any data you can find to determine whether your communications are resonating or falling flat. Many companies track email metrics like open rates and click-through rates, so those are great options to consider. Remember, metrics are another form of feedback about whether your stakeholders care about what you’re communicating.
Create a plan and prioritize
Now that you understand what communication channels you have access to and how your information is being received, take a step back and consider what you want each stakeholder audience to know and do. How does that compare with what’s happening today? Who’s most important to your success and should be prioritized? All of this will start to come together in a communications strategy and plan that articulates what’s most important to your organizations from a communications perspective. Depending on the resources you have available, you may need to choose just a few top opportunities to focus on now and continue to assess how your efforts are working. This agile approach ensures you’re not biting off more than you can chew while ensuring you can continue to ask for and incorporate stakeholder feedback along the way. Read more on how to get disciplined about what you will and won't be out talking about.
Need help assessing your company’s communications approach and how you can better reach the audiences that matter most to your success? I’d love to support you – get in touch!