Rule #1: Give the audience everything they need to understand your message.
No matter what you are sharing, no matter who your audience is, it is your responsibility to make your message clear.
I admit it – I’ve broken my own #1 rule. In fact, just yesterday I sent out an internal communication and immediately the phone rang with questions. My first reaction was to think “how is it possible they don’t know the answer to that question? I know I’ve told them multiple times.”
On reflection, the reason is obvious: the topic is a part of my everyday life, not theirs. I failed to make sure they had the background information necessary to understand the message.
How To Follow the Rule:
- Write or design your communication with all the information that is important for you to share.
- Take a step back and forget everything you know on the topic. Pretend you are a member of your target audience.
- Read your message again and ask yourself if it answers all the questions your audience is bound to have.
- Rewrite it to clearly answer those questions.
In my case, all it took was an additional sentence and a link that gave my audience more insight and background on the topic. It was simple. Had I taken the steps above, my message would have been clear and on target the first time.
So, now I’m taking my head slap. I deserve it. After all, it is my own #1 rule!
Here’s a little extra something for all you Gibbs slap fans…