3D-VA Written communication blog

We all communicate every day. The good thing about written communication is that we have longer to plan our message, which is just as well because it’s much easier to be misunderstood or simply ignored.

Whether a user guide, sales report, fillable form, meeting agenda or simply an email, communicating effectively requires some thought. It is important to think about what you want to say, who you want to say it to and what you want them to do:

To whom you want to communicate?

How do you want to communicate?

What you want to communicate?

Where should you communicate?

When is the right time to communicate?

Most importantly …

Why you want to communicate

To whom you want to communicate?

Know your audience so that you know who are you addressing? Try to be specific. What do they already know? What will interest them? Think about what they want to know more than what you want to tell them. Remember WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

How do you want to communicate?

Sometimes face to face or phone calls are best but that might not be possible, getting your message to the masses one phone call at a time will take a while. There are still many options including email, blogs, flyers, newsletters and of course social media posts. How many people do you want to reach? How are they most likely going to see your message?

What do you want to communicate?

Be clear about what you are saying and what it means to them. People like to know what’s coming, help them on the journey by signposting the way. This is where we are, this is where we are going and this what will be at the end.

Where should you communicate?

Think about who your audience is. Where do they hang out, should you put a flyer in a coffee shop or the library, and advert in the local magazine or go on-line in a social media group?

When is the right time to communicate?

Again, thinking about who your message is for, what is the right time to reach them? When will they be most receptive? First thing in the morning, during the business day, relaxing in the evening. People are often most productive in the morning and more likely to buy a product after pay day.

Now the big one…

Why do you want to communicate?

What are your objectives?

I want the audience to

think _____________

feel _____________

say _____________

take this action _____________

Constructing your message

Here are 10 tips to help you write a message people will want to read

1. Create an attention-grabbing title – give them a reason to read on.

2. Start with a summary of key areas to be covered – Be clear.

3. Be compelling, engaging and clear on what benefit you provide.

4. Structure the text – aim for a maximum of around 30 words per sentence and 6-lines per paragraph. However, do vary the length of sentences and paragraphs to keep things interesting. Don’t let them get bored.

5. Include plenty of white space, especially with slides. The reader won’t want to wade through lots of text so keep to the point.

6. Use clear headings to help the reader follow you.

7. Mix it up with bullets for lists, pictures, captions and graphs.

8. Compose the message – Show knowledge. Be interesting both in what you say and in how you say it!

9. Write something that supports the message – Give useful information and insights.

10. Finish with a call to action – what do you want your reader to do, follow you on social media, go to your website, call you?

Barriers to communication

Sometimes the messages just don’t reach our audience.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Being aware of barriers can help us to overcome them. Things to avoid include:

  • Stereotyping
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Language and jargon
  • Emotions
  • Personalities
  • Information overload
  • Conflicting values and beliefs

Once you find a way of communication that works for you, make the most of it. Consider using templates so that all of your messages are the same style and branded so people know it’s you and look out for it.

Contact me if you want help communicating with your customers

Written Communication