Several years ago, I picked up Tuesdays with Morrie… a novel by Mitch Albom. I got into reading his books because of the way they were published. I liked the texture of the frayed pages, the unique size of the book and the spacing of the copy. Not to mention it was a great read. All this to say, people like to receive information in different ways.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about defining the objective or goal of your communication. For example, your goal was to “get to the convention centre.” The strategy? Take the most direct way there, and the tactic, in this example, drive a car. But that’s only one tactic. When you’re planning your communication, you may want to look at a number of tactics. Tactics are those specific actions or steps you want to take to achieve your goal.
What are the different ways you’re going to get people to read and respond to what you have to say? Knowing your audience is a good place to start. Ask yourself what tactics will appeal to each? Some may respond better to the written word; some may require an in-person conversation. If the topic is a sensitive one, or one that requires a change, you may want to start with a one-on-one meeting and follow up with a written message to cover off all the details. If you’re looking to inspire or maybe break down a more difficult subject, a video may help. People receive a lot of information in a day, so try capitalizing on communications they already receive and read. Is there a regular newsletter they read, or podcast they follow where you can add your message?
But it doesn’t stop there. Once you determine what tactics you’ll create, think about the timing. When’s the best time to deliver your message? When will you start? When will you wrap it up? Have a look at other events being delivered at the same time. If you want your reader to pay attention to your message it’s good to know what other things are competing for their attention. Is your reader available to take in your message? Delivering an important change to a product manufacturing plant would not be effective if it’s delivered during a summer plant shutdown!
But wait! You’re not done yet. If you believe in the rule of 7, you’ll also want to repeat your message to help your readers remember it. That doesn’t mean saying it the same way multiple times. Reframe what you have to say from a different perspective, look for ways to break it down or expand it with more detail.
The right tactics. The right timing. Enough repetition and you’re sure to catch a reader!