February 2014

Keep Love in the Air with Good Communication By K. Dawn Rutledge, Vice President of Communication

Along with Black History, Groundhog Day, the Superbowl and President’s Day, the month of February is also reserved for the holiday of love – Valentine’s Day. During this observance many of us will make sure we keep things peaceful and positive as we prepare to shower our significant others with love. During this time, no one wants to fight, spew angry words or dish out the dreaded “silent treatment” before they have a chance to whip out the flowers, candy and gifts on this day and say those adoring words: “I love you.”

Much like this day of amore, as professional communicators, we always have to think about how to say and do the right things to keep our key stakeholders in admiration of the products, services or people we must promote. The challenge is that love is sometimes fleeting and that one negative circumstance or crisis can turn the tide and, then, the honeymoon is over. Here are a few tips to keep love in the air as you communicate with others:

1) Be honest. In all of your communication, try to be authentic. Nothing can turn friends into foes quicker than intentionally misleading information. There’s nothing to say you won’t ever make a mistake, but when you do, get it corrected as quickly as possible.

2) Think. My grandmother used to say, “Book sense is nice, but common sense will take you a long way.” It’s a wise old saying and one I certainly take to heart. If you want to communicate effectively, it’s important to take a little time to think through the pros and cons of your message to ensure what you’re communicating is well-thought out and makes sense to the key stakeholders you’re trying to reach.

3) Practice the KISS (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) Theory! I always chuckle when I read some press releases or speeches and it’s so garbled with rhetoric, incomprehensible lingo and massive words that not even Albert Einstein himself could catch on to what’s being said. You don’t have to use big words to say simple things. If a sixth grader can understand it, then you’ve done your job. More often than not the trick to successful communication is simply ‘simplicity.’ ###

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