April Blog

Communications is Not One-Size-Fits-All
By: Jennifer Fuqua, VP of Professional Development and President Elect

When it comes to robes, aprons, and ponchos… it’s generally a one-size-fits all world. Not so when it comes to communications. Think of business communicators as tailors. Tailors must know their clients well and understand their needs. It is the tailor’s goal to create a piece of clothing that the client will love to wear, so great care is taken with fabric, cut, style, and fit. If any of these aspects are less than perfect, the client will not be happy and probably won’t wear the garment.

As business communicators, we take on the role of conveying information to a variety of audiences. As Stephen Covey has taught us, we must “begin with end in mind.” This does not mean we skip directly to the tactical execution and overlook strategy. It means we must establish and understand our ultimate goal, then back up to develop a plan to achieve it. The goal may be to educate, persuade, or move the meter in a specific direction. No matter what the communicator’s goal is, in order to reach it, it’s crucial to tailor the right message to the right audience and deliver it in the right way.

An example of this is communicating news of a company merger. The information will be disseminated differently to a variety of audiences such as employees, customers, and shareholders. Each of these groups is impacted in unique ways, so the communicator must carefully align the message and medium accordingly. Employees may learn how this will affect their benefits and positions via a department meeting and the company intranet. Customers may be called, visited, and emailed with information about how this affects their service, availability, or pricing, while shareholders may be presented with financial projections to assure them their investments have growth potential. In all of these situations, the message and delivery channel resonates with the audience.

Business communicators do not have the luxury of an “off the rack” solution. We are tasked with the challenge and given the opportunity to develop and deliver messages in meaningful ways. It’s our job to make sure it fits…just right.

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