Just because you don’t shout the loudest, doesn’t mean your message isn’t important. Impactful communication is all about knowing what you want to say and who you want to say it to – as we discovered in our latest everywoman webinar, with Melanie Eusebe.
Keep yourself central
It can be easy to get distracted when you’re trying to work out what to say, but if you keep yourself at the core of everything you do, this will help you proceed in an authentic way.
Even if you wear different hats for different aspects of your life, they are all part of the same brand and you should be comfortable bringing all of these to the table when you create your content.
Put yourself at the centre of your ecosphere and consider your brand as the ‘primary wrapper’ around you and your content. Remember – people won’t know what’s inside the wrapper unless you let them know what’s inside.
Content is queen
But how do you work out what that content should be? Creating content isn’t just about pushing your ideas out there, it’s also about attracting people with your ideas. So your content should be a mixture of asserting what you believe as well as opening yourself up to attract new people.
Try the following exercise:
Imagine you’re not in the room and you’re listening to people talking about you. What would you want them to be saying? Is it how committed you are to your community work? Is it your passion and drive? Is it your family values? To leave out who you are in your content is to leave out crucial value.
Add value wherever possible
Every time you do something, think about where else the content can go. After all, there’s really no point in doing the work if nobody’s going to see it. Treat everything you do as an event. Where are your messages going to land and what will happen to them afterwards? There’s no point in hosting a party just for yourself.
Target your brand
Though your brand should be authentic, it does also still need to have a clear focus. Don’t make the mistake of having so many unconnected interests it’s hard for people to think about you in a coherent way. If you meet someone and they tell you a fact about themselves, next time you think about that fact you’ll also think about them. Work out the key ideas you want people to relate to you. Next time they’re talking about that topic to someone in the street they’ll mention you. Having ideas linked to you helps create a more memorable impression. Just being remembered as ‘a great person’, while nice to have, isn’t enough – you need a bit more to stick in people’s minds.
Get to know your stakeholders
You need to know who your KPIs (key people of influence) are. They might be colleagues, friends or family members. Who are the people who have the most impact on your path in life? Whose decisions really make a difference to your life? Think about who they are, how they like to be spoken to and how they like to speak to you. Are they charismatic? Do they need time to think about messages? Do they prioritise risk mitigation? Do they need validation? Look at their own characteristics, decision-making styles and persuasion strategies and talk to them accordingly.
Remember, your influence grows one person at a time
Whether you’re sending an email or talking on a big stage to thousands of people, you’re really communicating to one person at a time. Speak to your KPIs as though you’re talking to them like you would a friend or a colleague. As well as being an effective way to communicate, this can also make it easier to feel comfortable putting more of yourself ‘out there’.
Choose your social channels carefully
Avoid taking a scattergun approach to your social media. It might be that LinkedIn works better for you online than Twitter and Facebook. If you’re putting yourself and your message out there, it’s worth carefully researching which channels allow for greater accountability or minimal disagreement.