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Do they understand ?

A more infamous piece of recent UK government advice has been much maligned, even mocked - #stayalert #controlthevirus #savelives, and while it’s quickly become the muse for many frankly hilarious memes, in my mind, it’s definitely highlighted that everyone from small business to central government must demonstrate clarity of direction in their communications if they want a well-intentioned message to resonate.

So, how exactly do you ensure clarity of direction?

It must be a top-down approach. Putting out a fuzzy message that seems clear to you is great, but remember, the responsibility starts and ends with you, the communicator.

There’s always a temptation to shift this culpability to the receiver, “but, my instructions were so clear, they must be incompetent if they can’t understand this!”

Take a good look at the issues you face, and the messaging points you intend to supply to your workforce and ask yourself “Does it pass the so-what factor?”. If there is any hint of ambiguity and could be misconstrued, it won’t pass that simple sense check, and you will have to adjust the message.

Generating commonality of purpose relies on our eventual ability to pull in the same direction and without specificity, we leave communications open to interpretation. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for creative thinking, and there’s a fine line to tread between being clear and retaining practicality, but, when it comes down to regulatory and safety communications, clarity of messaging is paramount.

It’s obvious that the latest government advice on #socialdistancing made sense to those penning it, and if their goal was to get people talking about their messaging, you could even say it was a success! But based upon the bulk of the social media response, it’s clear that what people were expecting were specific instructions. Why? Because it’s a matter of safety in an uncertain time.

So, to ensure your communications hit home every time, be sure to:

  • Keep ideas specific

  • Stay on message

  • Avoid jargon

  • Repeat the information

  • Respect the intelligence of your audience

These 5 points are the keys to success in creating clarity of direction with your internal communications, and they’re so obvious. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in attempts to be edgy or original; most often, the best solutions are the simplest ones.

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