The Crucial Factors of Communicating

At Issues Management Group, we pride ourselves on our ability to counsel clients to communicate with key stakeholders and always think proactively. The art of communications continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. In our world, what you say is only one part of the road that leads to an effective message and satisfied audiences.

Here are some key reminders when communicating on behalf of your organization, no matter the circumstance.  

Why are you communicating? 

The first question you should seek to answer is “why” you are communicating. This natural starting point allows you to work backwards from your desired outcomes. It also prompts thinking about potential obstacles to that objective, so you can be proactive in planning to overcome these challenges, rather than reacting once they arise. From there, effective communicators are able to effectively tailor what they want to say to whom and how.

What are you saying?     

After establishing why you are communicating, you need to figure out exactly what you are saying through the development of key messages that inform a narrative. Consistency is key in communications; ensuring all spokespeople are armed with the same narrative helps establish transparent and authentic connections between your audience and your spokespeople, ultimately building trust in your organization. The narrative should be built using simple and clear messages designed to tell the story you want to get across, while also anticipating likely follow-up questions.  

Who are you talking to?     

Once your narrative is established, you must consider who you need to reach with your communications. It is crucial to consider how your messages will land with both internal and external stakeholders, as well as any partnering organizations or interested parties (i.e. your Board). Once these audiences are identified, you can tailor your key messages to each audience to ensure the message rings true. When tailoring your message, consider whether you are conveying the appropriate tone and necessary details to resonate with each audience, without straying from your overarching key narrative.  

Who is delivering your message, and how? 

Just as there is an opportunity to tailor key messages to each audience, you can also tailor how they will receive it. Each audience should have their own strategy, including the best designated spokesperson and delivery method. In some cases, a CEO might be responsible for delivering the message to all audiences; in others, there might be additional leaders whose voices will most effectively resonate with certain groups. Depending on the importance and sensitivity of a message, it might be best delivered in-person to certain audiences, or it might be appropriate for distribution via email blast. The most important factor here is authenticity: who would an audience expect to hear this message from, and which delivery method will feel most natural? Whatever the answer, solid preparation is crucial to ensure all spokespeople know their key messages and are prepared to sing from the same songbook. 

Strong companies always have strategic communications top of mind and are prepared to navigate any challenges or opportunities that come their way, no matter the audience. It is imperative that leadership recognizes that an internal matter can quickly spiral to be external facing and on the front page of the 24-hour news cycle – no organizations are immune to this possibility. We are here to help you navigate these proactive and reactive situations and get you to strategize before things get out of hand.

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With decades of experience in politics, media, government, and public relations, Issues Management Group leverages our expertise to propel and protect established, transitioning, and emerging organizations.

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