Interactive or static should your communication be one-way or two-way? Interactive means a back-and-forth conversation; static means delivery of a message. What does your message require? Brainstorming and questioning require interactivity. Updates can be static. Personal or impersonal Personal means face-to-face, or on the phone. Impersonal communication is in writing. Does your communication require you to hear or see your customers or colleagues? Are you trying to build relationships? Will the tone of voice be important for this particular message? Are the ideas potentially confusing? Put some thought into whether your presence is a vital component of your message.
1. Assess what kind of audience you are communicating with. Keeping in mind all of the differences among specific audience and the various manners in which they perceive your messages – you must realize that the use of all communication channels is not desirable at all times. For example, when speaking to a CEO, provide him with relevant and short information. When speaking to employees with the lower status, feel free to explain what you have to say in more detail. When you need to be convincing, try to communicate personally.
2. Assess the real value of the message you want to communicate. You should never overload your audience with information of little relevance that seems important only to you because you will lose their support and they will start perceiving you as a nuisance who rarely has something important to say. By avoiding this rule you risk becoming irrelevant. 3. Check the cost level you can bear when selecting communication channels. You should be aware that indirect communication, for instance, becoming involved in various events or charity activities, requires the greatest investment. On the other hand, established interpersonal communication channels are much less expensive.
4. Assess whether your choice of a communication channel is justified. For instance, why should employees in your organization learn new standards of operations through mass media? On the other hand, it is more worthwhile to plan certain stories in a targeted and controlled manner with journalists than to “drag” them through all media. 5. Assess the long-term sustainability of selected communication channels. It is not the same if you establish a successful long-term manner of communication that is recognized by the target audience and the one that receives positive feedback from the public or if we constantly communicate in the manner that you receive feedback from two people or one medium.
Do not forget that in this manner you are developing your long-term public relations! When all of the stated factors are taken into consideration, you will easily arrive to conclusion that different audience responds to your message in different ways so they always must be considered separately and, often, communicated to differently and through differing channels and tools.
Message customized for the audience
The title of this section probably best summarizes the wisdom of selecting a right communication channel – communication must be conducted differently with various audiences. It is good to note that communication and PR activities should not be directed to the ‘general public’. They are aimed at carefully selected groups of people who are subdivisions of the vast general public – for example, stakeholders, shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, distributors, opinion makers, trade unions, institution representatives, Government members, media and many others.
In terms of good communication with your key audience, it is preferable to become more “discriminating” towards your selection of desired audience. That means that communicating certain kinds of message only to selected audience is less wasteful and more successful. For the above-mentioned reasons, the usual methods of communication must be more and more adapted, which requires a greater use of tactics. Why? Simply because it is becoming increasingly challenging to transfer the message to specific section of the public from which we have concrete benefits and which can benefit from us. Everything else can be considered as a loss of our precious time.