Overcoming communication barriers, part 2
The most common communication barriers we hear + how to overcome them
In part 1 of this blog, we addressed some common barriers that many organizations and companies struggle to overcome. We covered barriers that fell into psychological, emotional, perception, organizational, and capacity-based categories. In part 2 the focus is on internally strategizing to overcome external communication barriers.
Let’s dive in!
Barrier: We have an event/occasion/milestone coming up and want to tell our audiences about it.
When an event, occasion, or milestone is approaching you may struggle with how to communicate about it with your audience. Because a special event or milestone can put a lot of pressure on your business, it may feel overwhelming to ALSO communicate about it, in addition to planning the details. Are you overthinking the communication because you want the special moment to be perfect?
Overcome this barrier: Give yourself the time to properly execute and don’t overthink.
Create a strategy that is built around a timeline of the rollout. Make a plan and give yourself time to execute tasks leading up to the occasion. When you map it out like this beforehand you allow yourself to take a step back, and make and set realistic goals and expectations. Giving yourself more time can also create space to have others on your team contribute ideas or manpower to make your communication strategy shine.
Barrier: Diversity, equity, and inclusion messaging is overwhelming to tackle.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are sensitive subjects and must be strategically handled. As a leader, you may feel worried or embarrassed if you don’t have policy and messaging in place. But remember, everyone has to start somewhere. One of the main goals of having a DEI policy in place is to encourage an environment where people with different backgrounds can thrive. Keep in mind DEI initiatives messaging are not one size fits all. You have to figure out the right structure for your business and goals.
Overcome this barrier: Do first, communicate later.
This barrier must be handled with strategy from the start. You want to make sure that your DEI efforts are coming from a place of authenticity, otherwise, people will see right through it. You don’t want to be accused of something like performative activism. When you’re working on DEI messaging, dig deep and understand why having a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is meaningful for your organization.
Barrier: Our team needs alignment on messaging.
Employees at your company should feel empowered to be ambassadors for your brand. One of the most important aspects of this is being aligned on your internal and external messaging. You want the brand to have a cohesive voice no matter who is represented, so ensuring that every team member is on the same page is essential.
Overcome this barrier: Clear communication from the inside out.
To get your team aligned on messaging, first, make sure that what you want to communicate externally is clear. A great way to accomplish this is to host a brand ambassador training. Go through various scenarios with your team and coach them on how you would like your brand messaging to be communicated. Working with the team internally and ensuring that they are consistently updated with the latest brand messaging will lead to greater alignment.
Barrier: Your constituency is disgruntled or unhappy.
As a company or organization, dealing with disgruntled constituents can’t always be avoided. Perhaps an important audience doesn’t agree with a decision you’ve made, or feels slighted about a change your organization is pushing forward. When your audiences aren’t happy with you, it can be harder for them to hear you and maintain a level of trust.
Overcome this barrier: Proactively communicate, again and again.
Important rules of crisis communication include getting ahead of the story and being transparent along the way. To salvage the relationship you have with your community, a communication strategy is key. To avoid having an unhappy constituency, it is optimal to communicate changes that might affect them before they happen. If the community finds out about these decisions straight from the horse’s mouth rather than another outlet, you will begin to regain their trust.
Overcoming these barriers can be intimidating, but the common theme in overcoming all of them is to have a strategy. You’re not the only one who’s been there and these aren’t the only barriers you will have to overcome. With the right strategy and intention, these barriers can be overcome.
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