Communication is the cornerstone of every business. How companies respond and what they say can shape their brands for better or for worse. Strong communication can inspire change, create action and influence communities around you, while poor communication has the power to tarnish your brand or sever relationships with core audiences.
While what you communicate carries a lot of gravity, when you communicate is equally important. In order to guide your communication considerations, we’ve mapped out foundational questions that will inform both what and when to communicate.
What to Communicate
Five simple questions can serve as your filter for almost any form of communication, offering a strategic lens through which businesses can refine exactly what they are trying to say and achieve. By thoughtfully considering each question in the order listed below, leaders and companies can shape communications to maximize impact.
- Why do you want to say something?Identify your purpose.
- Who do you want to know? Clarify your audience(s).
- What do you want them to know? Define your message.
- What do you want them to do once they know? Outline the desired response.
- How are you going to tell them? Plan out tactics.
When to Communicate
Timing is everything. Before you press send on your carefully crafted communication, stop and consider whether the situation warrants or requires a response, using the following questions to inform your decision.
- Will those who matter to us expect us to do something now or say something now?
- Will silence be seen as indifference?
- Do our core audiences know we care?
- Are others speaking about us now, shaping the perception of us among those who matter to us?
- If we wait to communicate, will we lose the ability to influence the outcome?
- Is there anything unclear or missing in our communications?
- Do we anticipate not being able to meet our audiences’ expectations?
*If the answer to ANY of the questions above is YES, it’s time to communicate. If the answer to all of the questions above is NO, prepare your response and monitor the situation until one of the answers becomes yes.
As a final check before sending your message, consider the following:
- Are our values clearly communicated?
- Are current communications working? Should we adjust our message to ensure effectiveness?
- Are we doing what our core audiences expect? If not, what do we need to do or communicate to meet expectations?
Need help crafting your message or identifying the best time to share it? We’d love to help: firstname.lastname@example.org.