There are seven essential elements to successful business communication:
Structure Clarity Consistency Medium Relevancy Primacy/Recency Psychological Rule of 7±2
If you are going to communicate effectively in business it is essential that you have a solid grasp of these seven elements. So let's look at each in turn...
Structure ~~~~~~~~~ How you structure your communication is fundamental to how easily it is absorbed and understood by your audience.
Every good communication should have these three structural elements: an opening, a body, and a close.
The Opening allows your communication's audience to quickly understand what communication is about. Short, sharp and to point, a good opening lets your audience quickly reach a decision of whether or not to pay attention to your message.
The Body is where you get to 'heart' of your message. It is in body of message that you communicate all of your facts and figures relative to action you want your communication's audience to take after attending to your message.
There's a key to rapid uptake of your message -- KISS. Pitch your presentation's graphics at a grade seven child. If THEY can follow and understand them, chances are good that your audience will too.
The Close is where you sum up your communication, remind your audience of your key points, and leave them with a clear understanding of what you want them to do next. The more powerfully you can end your communication, more easily remembered it will be by your audience.
This structural rule holds true no matter what your communication is -- a memo, a phone call, a voice mail message, a personal presentation, a speech, an email, a webpage, or a multi-media presentation.
Remember - your communication's audience can be just one person, a small team, an auditorium full of people or a national, even global, group of millions.
In this instance size doesn't matter -- rules remain same.
Clarity ~~~~~~~ Be clear about messaqe you want to deliver, as giving a confused message to your audience only ends up with them being confused and your message being ignored.
If you are giving a message about, say, overtime payments don't then add in messages about detailed budget issues or upcoming staff picnic -- UNLESS they ABSOLUTELY fit in with your original message.
It's far better and clearer for your audience if you create a separate communication about these ancilliary issues.
Consistency ~~~~~~~~~~~ Nothing more upsets a regular reader of, say, your newsletter than inconsistency of your message.
Taking a position on an issue one week, only to overturn it next, then overturn THAT position following week, only breeds distrust in your message. And distrust in you!
People who distrust you are exceedingly unlikely to take action you wish them to take. They are also highly unlikely to pay any attention to your future messages.
As well as consistency amongst multiple messages, be aware that inconsistency within your message can be just as deadly to audience comprehension.
At risk of sounding like Grouchy Grammarian, please make sure that your tenses remain same, that your viewpoint doesn't wander between 1st and 3rd person and back again (unless you deliberately want to create a linguistic or story-telling effect — be careful with this!) and that your overall 'theme' or message doesn't change.
Medium ~~~~~~ If only tool you have in your toolbag is a hammer, pretty soon everything starts to look like a nail.
Similarly, if all you believe you have as a communications tool is PowerPoint™ then pretty soon all you'll do is reduce very communications opportunity to a PowerPoint™ presentation. And as any of us who have sat through one too many boring slideshows will attest, "seen one, seen 'em all"
There are a myriad of was you can deliver your message — trick is to use right one. But which is right one? The one that communicates your message: * with greatest accuracy * with largest likelihood of audience comprehension * at lowest fiscal cost * at lowest time cost
Note: it must meet ALL of these criteria. There's absolutely no value in spending least amount of money if medium you choose doesn't deliver on any of other criteria.
Choosing right medium or media is obviously critical. Get media mix wrong and you could end up spending a whole lot of time and money on a very visually attractive business communication that delivers next-to-zero ROI.
Relevancy ~~~~~~~~~ It never ceases to amaze me that business managers still believe that everyone would be interested in their message — and then proceed to subject any and every person they can find to a horrendous PowerPoint slideshow put together by a well-meaning but aesthetically-challenged subordinate.