One of my assignments focuses on improving internal communications at a retail company. I like this assignment because there is a lot to gain for internal communications.
One of the quick wins was to improve the intranet messages. Many times the reason for a decision was not explained or the goal of a particular message was unclear. So I started with tips & tricks to help out the employees in their communications efforts. It was not my intention to train them to become professional editors but to help them write better messages. The first step in helping the organisation to communicate more effectively.
These are the tips & tricks.
The first step is to determine what your objective is for your communication activity. Do you want to inform, lead to action, motivate, or share successes? There are several reasons to communicate with your audience. Make sure your objective is clear. That will help you in your preparations.
2. Explain ‘why’
If you want co-workers to act or inform them about a decision, then make sure you explain the reason why. This will help your co-workers to understand what it is you want. Because they will certainly not change behaviour if they don’t understand why they should. Involve them and share your reasons.
3. Compliments, successes, tips, best practices
Besides the information you need to have to do your work properly, you also want to enjoy your work. Therefore, communicate about topics that contribute to a pleasant atmosphere: successes, compliments from clients, tips, best practices etc. This will improve the energy level in your organisation and it motivates.
Then the message itself.
1. Attractive subject
This is your start. The subject must invite your audience to read your message. The clearer the subject, the more inviting to read.
This is the first paragraph of your message. In short it tells your audience what to expect. If the introduction is not clear, your reader will not continue. Once someone gave me a valuable tip. The introduction should be like the 5th Beethoven symphony: tatataaaaaa….. That is the effect you need.
3. Start with most important
Start with the most important part and finish with less important items. Then you will be sure your audience read the most important part.
4. Short and crisp
Less is more. Stick to the core message. This will make your message (a lot) shorter and your audience will better understand what it is about. The longer your article, the less inviting to read. Short and crisp will also reduce to feeling of information overload.
5. Use subheadings
A long text is not attractive. However, sometimes you cannot avoid a long text. In that case, use subheadings. It structures your message and your audience understand what it is about.
Every subheading explains the essence of the following paragraph.
Also a long paragraph is not attractive to read. Therefore, use bullets to structure the text.