For communication to be effective, you first need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve. You need to ask why you’re communicating in the first place. What objective are you chasing?
Yes, communication is the process of sharing information and ideas. But alone, the desire to share isn’t enough. In a world where our senses absorb and send 11 million bits of information per second to our brains, it’s important to note that our conscious minds can only process around 50 bits per second.
That’s one heck of a gap for your message to fall into!
Sharing information simply for sharing’s sake is likely to result in your message getting lost in the void of information-overload that we are all living in today.
Instead, before you hit send on your next email, pick up the phone or jump on your next Zoom call, ask yourself why you want to share that idea or piece of information with your team (or any another stakeholder). What communication objectives do you want to achieve?
A good way to think about this is to consider what shift you are trying to cause in their thoughts, attitudes and/or behaviour?
Leadership Communication that Shifts the Needle
If you’re looking to maximise the impact of your leadership, increase employee engagement and create a high-performing team, there are four primary communication objectives you should be tracking to ensure your leadership communication is consistently working towards shifting the needle.
1. Increase Awareness
To increase awareness of your purpose, vision, strategy and values your communication should be geared to ensuring everyone knows why your team exists, the goals you want to achieve, the direction you are heading, how you are going to get there and the culture you want to foster en route.
2. Improve Understanding
To improve the depth of understanding of your team’s purpose, vision, strategy and values your communication should focus on helping your team appreciate how their role fits into the big picture and why the work they do day-in, day-out is critical to that vision and how they can contribute to the overall success of your team and the business.
3. Build Support
To gain buy-in to your team’s purpose, vision, strategy and values your communication needs to shift employees from simply being passengers on a journey to engaging with your strategy and actively advocating it to others in the organisation.
4. Drive Commitment
To drive commitment to your purpose, vision, strategy and values will mean that your communication has successfully united your entire team in their efforts to achieve results. They have each taken personal ownership of the journey you are on and see the team’s success as a reflection of their own success.
Evolution vs. Revolution
It’s an evolving journey. Each of these communication objectives builds on the previous. For example, you can’t build support and buy-in if you haven’t already done the work to increase awareness and improve understanding.
Consider where the needle currently sits for each area and decide where to place your focus. For example, your team may have high awareness but low understanding, so this becomes the primary communication objective. Once the depth of understanding has improved amongst the team, your communication objective evolves to building support.
Set Yourself up for Success
With your communication objective – your why – in mind, you’re in a far better position to develop and deliver your message in a more meaningful manner, so you get the outcome you’re looking for.
Whether it’s for a one-off piece of communication or your entire communications plan, set yourself up for success by understanding why you are communicating in the first place: what communication objective are you trying to achieve?