What's Your Communicator Strategy?

Everyone has one, or should have anyway, when communicating as a manager or CEO with their employees, regardless of whether you are speaking or writing.

A communicator strategy is made up of the following:

1. What is your objective? Communicating in non-business environments is as simple as speaking or writing to get a response. However, in business environments, you are speaking or writing (i.e., communicating) in order to get a certain response. Thus, your objective will determine your communication strategy from the outset. To find a viable objective, convert your general communication goal to a more specific communication goal. This would look something similar to "To express my vision," which would turn into "As a result of this communication, my audience will understand my vision for 2009." See how that works?

2. What communication style do you choose? Your communication style is directly related to the objective you've set for the communication. Are you explaining or persuading? Are you seeking to understand or learn something?  You're going to use different communication styles when doing each of the above-listed objectives. For instance, when you're explaining, you have all the information you need, you don't need others' opinions, ideas, or input, and you want to control the message content. This is also true with the persuading communication style. For the communications that are for you to understand or learn, you obviously do not have sufficient information, you need or want to hear other opinions, ideas, or input, and you want to (or need to) involve your audience in order to come up with the message together.

Be advised that sometimes you may need to use a combination of those styles in order to facilitate quality communication throughout a longer-term or more difficult project.

3. What is your credibility? What is your audience's perception of you? How they perceive you will affect your communication strategy. If they don't think you are someone they want (or need) to listen to, it does not matter how efficiently you communicate. Thus, you may want to stress or remind your audience of the grounds for your credibility. Let them know why they should listen to what you have to say, and do so in a humble way. However, simply relying on that is not enough. You must communicate well and use every communication tool in your arsenal to continue to prove your credibility.

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