Communication Tempo

by Aaron J. Henninger

In an era of instant access to all of the information you could ever want–and then some, there is a temptation to continually engage on the part of communication practitioners and the organizations they represent.  When people refer to the need to create an ongoing dialogue with your customer base, they don’t necessarily mean an unending dialogue.

PR practitioners are very susceptible to diverting attention and focus from organizational priorities and mission in search of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’. While this might do some good in building the individuals brand, at what cost does it come to the organization and the power of the information it presents when it counts and it’s all on the line?

Due to low entry cost, anyone can have a say and hear their own voice, but the organizations and individuals that truly develop followership and credibility are those that can translate their vision into purposeful communication.  Contributing to the onslaught of messages, data points and info graphics has the ability of obscuring and defacing the true value of your brand.

To be clear, engaging in the social media sphere may yield dividends for your organization, but merely having a presence that focuses on platform and overlooks the ‘why and the what’ can be highly destructive.

So, now that we’ve dealt with the potential pitfalls, how do you navigate the fine line of being timely and present with the risk of being overbearing and irrelevant?

Here are 6 quick tips:

1. Be Timely: Know when to go in early with an update or when to delay for mass effect it’s critical when trying to break through the chatter.

2. Get to the Point: Take the time to really distill your message; if you can’t find a way to say it in less than 280 characters, you probably haven’t given it enough thought.

3. Pick Your Platform: All info does not translate across all platforms. Knowing the differences and relative value of the various platforms your organizations employs will allow you to be judicious with info (avoid multi-channel spamming).

4. Messages Are Dead: If you don’t have a compelling story or idea, why would anyone care. The old model of messaging is just that.

5. Be Prepared: When you toss a piece of info, especially news into the vortex, be prepared for the increased velocity and attention you may bring to an issue. That means you better know the issue backwards and forwards or expect to learn it the hard way by public trial.

6. Listen…then Listen Some More: Be prepared to listen at least as much as you speak. Far too many times people or organizations jump into conversations that were started long ago and either put increased strain or renewed focus on issues that they may not realize they are contributing to.