Effective communication starts with knowing what you want to say. But it gets more complicated after that. Technology, egos, departmental agendas, and other issues can disrupt your message, and smart communicators know they can’t just hope for the best.
Here are some basic tips for communicating with your workforce successfully:
- Start with face-to-face communication. Nothing builds credibility faster and better than a simple conversation, whether it’s one on one or in a group. Employees will want a chance to ask questions and follow up.
- But don’t neglect other vehicles. Print, video, and electronic communications can reinforce key messages and get your words and ideas out to a wider audience. Just use your medium carefully so it doesn’t overpower or distract from the message.
- Don’t cover too much information. Send only one or two key messages at a time. Trying to answer every possible question or address every single contingency will tax employees’ attention spans and create confusion.
- Know what employees want. Your message will resonate if employees see what’s in it for them. Get to know what their priorities are and tailor your words to fit their needs and goals.
- Measure your success. When you have an important message to deliver, decide how you’ll determine whether it’s gotten through. Then evaluate your effectiveness so you can improve your communication in the future.
- Reward good communication. Effective communication benefits the organization on all levels. Be on the lookout for employees who express themselves clearly and accurately. Praise them, and encourage everyone to think about their words so they can be understood without trouble.
What are the consumer trends that will have the biggest impact on health care brands? This year’s most promising trends include:
- Mobile: 2012 was the year that smartphone owners outnumbered non-smartphone owners. People are increasingly reliant on the mobile web for health information. Is your online strategy ready?
- Trust: With a somewhat shaky economy and futures plagued by uncertainty, audiences are becoming skeptical of standard brand messaging. Integrity is now one of the most important qualities in a brand. Do people trust yours?
- Feedback loops: Many brands are letting people receive instant feedback on their activities, whether it’s exercise or finances. There is a huge marketing opportunity here for healthcare brands, especially as health systems move from a model based on treatment to one based on prevention.
- The upside of down-aging: Thanks to prolonged life spans from medical innovations, people are choosing to stay young—no matter their age. Does your marketing continue to rely on old stereotypes, or are you ready to embrace an audience whose lives and interests are no longer defined by age?
The one thing that all these trends have in common is the rise of health engagement, where smart brands build conversations outside of traditional advertising venues—whether it’s through a smartphone, in an online chat room or at a Zumba class. As the health care marketing landscape changes, we must learn to evolve or be left behind by audiences.
After speaking recently at a university journalism class , many of the questions revolved around how to become a “really good writer.” My suggestions included:
- Study how other people – particularly good writers – express themselves in words
- Examine how they take thought and own it, by expressing it in words and phrases that are unique, memorable, evocative and colorful
- Read a least one daily newspaper or news source, hopefully more
- Practice, practice, practice, practice …………….
Writing creatively, using descriptive adjectives and “telling your stories” as a way to express your ideas can unleash other creative parts of your brain, as well as make you a more informative, persuasive and captivating writer.
CEO’s responding to a recent survey cited Innovation and creativity as the most valuable resources in a down economy. According to the Anderson Analytics survey, CEOs said during a recession it is imperative to innovate and mine new insights and ideas, demand new, never-been-done-before approaches crafted by the company’s most out-there, creative thinkers.
Don’t be daunted. Any creative endeavor starts with a tiny spark of imagination. If carefully tended, that spark becomes a flame and that can become a roaring fire.
So where do you get your daily dose of inspiration? How do you keep the creativity flowing? We’ve learned it’s done by creating an environment where ideas are respected, explored and played with, where we are not satisfied with the first solution we come up with, where we can cultivate our appetites to know more and learn more: an environment where we will create something better tomorrow than the good we did today.
That’s our bottom line