Don't say one thing vital simply as soon as
It is important to view your communication as a repetitive process. Executives who have failed to see the benefits of well-crafted communication tend to view communication as a "check-off-the-box activity." For example, they will think, "I sent an email. This is why I communicated." In this way, they are confusing spreading the message with creating a common meaning and understanding.
In the past few months, however, many leaders have seen the benefits of repeating important messages. When the pandemic broke out, they quickly realized what to say about safety at work, COVID-19 protocols, guidelines for working from home, among other things, and they brought the message home.
The result? In many cases, the workforce felt informed and trusted to share important information.
Follow up with materials that will help your target audience keep and process the message
Research shows that the average prospect needs to hear a message seven times before taking action. Employees don't need the same amount of attention – their number is likely three to five times closer – but it still takes a few more repetitions before the message arrives.
Repetition is clearly your friend. I often say, "If you are tired of delivering your message, it is good for you. It means you are doing your job."
Beyond repetition, you should develop messages based on your audience's needs and then communicate with them in a variety of ways. Engage key influencers and thought leaders alongside managers across the company. When employees hear the same messages from their manager (always their preferred source of job-related information) from the CEO, read it on the intranet, and hear about the vine, they are more likely to believe it, and most importantly, act on it.
You should also remember that information extraction is just that – information extraction. Nothing more. To truly communicate, you need to know that the information has been received and understood. In fact, doing a little doing and thinking that you are done is one of the most common pitfalls executives fall into. The downside is a lack of information, skepticism, suspicion, confusion, or worse, inaction among those you are trying to reach.
What steps are you taking to make sure your message is received?
– David Grossman
To help you manage and communicate with employees during COVID-19, we have developed a resource page with tips and strategies that we update regularly. Click below to check it out.