Effective communication doesn't happen by itself

To be an effective communicator you have to take the initiative and control the communication process. You have to manage every aspect and the more systematically you do this the better the likelihood that you’ll make a measurable difference to the effectiveness of your communications.

While some people seem to be natural communicators, which perhaps has more to do with their personality (more on this in a future blog), other people have to work at it and they’ll deliver effective communications by taking the initiative and being in control of the situation.

To use a word that’s in vogue I guess it’s about being an intentional communicator. Whether it’s verbal, non-verbal, written or visual you cannot leave things to chance. You have to use deliberation at every stage of the process.

There are lots of definitions about the elements in the process. Here’s my list:

  • You
  • Aim
  • Audience (one or many)
  • Message
  • Mechanism
  • Result

The process is not rocket science. We unconsciously work our way through these elements every time we talk to someone. But a sophisticated and systematic approach is called for when, for whatever reason, we need to communicate with greater effectiveness.

Here’s one of my examples of effective communications. I was called in, by a multi-partner project seeking to increase broadband coverage in rural areas. Their aim was specific. They wanted us to formulate a communications campaign which would elicit a large number of responses, helping them to justify their case to broadband suppliers. A secondary outcome sought to identify people who would act as broadband champions in their community.

There were two audiences for the campaign message, domestic and commercial. They were located in specific postcode areas and we used three types of delivery mechanism to reach them. A bulk mail delivery was ruled out because the volume criteria couldn’t be achieved. The message was delivered as an A4 sheet folded to DL size on a medium card.

We achieved response rates way in excess of industry expectations for a cold calling mailer and helped to speed the delivery of broadband to rural areas.

But none of this would have happened without taking the initiative and managing the process.

What are your experiences of taking the initiative and managing the communication process?

To share your thoughts on this topic follow this link: Effective communication doesn't happen by itself

Share my experience

This site is dedicated to helping you communicate more effectively and benefit from the experience and skills I've built up over a lifetime working as a broadcast journalist and public relations consultant in the communications industry.