A large part of any effective IT organization is communication – especially communication within your organization. And although you may be presenting the same or a similar message to everyone, it’s important to consider your audience and tailor the message accordingly. Ignore this at your peril and risk having your important email end up unread in the Deleted Items folder.
A few things to consider when putting together your message:
- Always think of what motivates your audience. Write or speak with the thought “What’s in it for them?”. For example, if you’re talking to the sales department, you’ll want to focus on how the change will help them sell more product, meet their quotas and get their bonuses. If you’re talking to the executive team, you’ll want to focus on how the change will save or make the company more money.
- Consider what type of thinker you’re talking to. There are typically 3 levels of thinkers in any organization:
Type of Thinker What They Think About How Far Out They’re Thinking Strategic Policies 2-5 years ahead Tactical Process 6-24 months ahead Operational Procedures 0-6 months aheadFor example, if you’re talking to a strategic audience (i.e. the executive), think about the ramifications what you’re proposing will have on the company in the next 2-5 years. Will this make us a recognized market leader? Will it put us in a good position for an expanded product line? If you’re talking to the business unit level managers, will it mean we can focus less on day to day problems and more on research and development? If you’re talking to the customer service representatives, how this will help them streamline problem resolution?
Remove the technical jargon and speak or write in layman’s terms. Have someone typical of your target audience read any written communication prior to it going out. Concepts that are perfectly clear to you may be clear as mud to someone in a different role.
Anticipate objections like a sales person does when their trying to sell a product to a customer:
“Not able to pay the entire amount now? No problem, we can put you on a payment plan.”
“It doesn’t do xyz? Have you considered doing that a different way and using the abc feature?”
What? You say you’re horrible sales person? Tough. Learn how. We’re all trying to sell something, whether it be an idea, a proposal, a project or a product. This skill will serve you well no matter what role you’re in.
[This post also appears in the Canadian Experts Blog]