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Communicating with clarity in changing times

· Insight,Writing

So, how are you doing? I’ll be honest, I’m struggling somewhat. Half a year into our New Normal, the intensity and uncertainty of the pandemic continues to ebb and flow, and lockdown measures and travel restrictions draw in and out like the waistbands on my #WFH trousers.

We’re all making life adjustments right now, and facing up to a lot of physical and mental challenges. So what does this mean for your communication strategy? Well now, more than ever, it’s time to read the room before you switch on your mic. If the world has changed, so must the way that we communicate within it.

Why post at all?

Because life goes on. And now is a good time to really strengthen your community and connect with your followers in a way that you might not have considered before. It’s a time to be transparent, realistic and above all, human. People are spending more time online (for better or worse), and many brands are taking the chance to knock down walls by opening themselves up to customers in a more personal way. Now more than ever, we’re all looking for meaningful connections. So connect.

Read the room before you switch on your mic.

Check your voice

As a communications agency, we are used to switching up our tone for different clients. But now, tone of voice must also pay attention to the state of the world and the current conversations around a whole host of issues. Aggressive, abrasive marketing tactics will not do. Be kind. Use clear, concise language wherever possible. Just like you, your readers are dealing with a lot of stuff. Be calm, helpful, light-hearted where appropriate. Don’t clutter your message with jargon. Avoid being boastful in a time when so many are suffering, but avoid going too light, resulting in a patronising tone. It’s a fine balance, but if you take the time, you can strike it.

Add value

Is what you have to say helpful? At a time when keeping up with the news and looking after our own mental health feels like a full-time job in itself, be sure that you aren’t just adding to your customers’ on-screen noise before you post. Sometimes it only takes a few tweaks to change a message from one that’s all ‘me, me me’ to one that’s more ‘here’s what I learned from this, and I’d like to share it with you’. There’s meaning in everything, so seek it out. And remember that the relevance of your message might change as global events unfold – something to bear in mind if you’re somebody who likes to plan your social posts in advance.

Mind your step

Many people are (still) suffering. As the virus sweeps through the world, populations are being hit at different times. Just because things are easing up where you live doesn’t mean that the same is true for your customer. So tread lightly. Monitor the news and be sensitive to global issues – it’s not all about Covid. Consider other ongoing conversations – especially the Black Lives Matter movement - and double-check your message. Before hitting the publish button, think about where your content might land, and how it may be perceived.

Read before you retweet. Link with care. Don’t add to the confusion.

Be transparent and honest

We all make mistakes from time to time. Many of us are un-learning and learning at a rapid rate, and our frames of reference are shifting. So, you may mess up occasionally. If you do, own up and move on. Deleting misjudged social media posts and hoping that nobody noticed is a no-no. Because it will be noticed.

Is your business suffering? Say it. We’re all trying to stay afloat here, and there’s no shame in admitting it. This is not the time for smoke screens: it’s a time to cultivate honest and open relationships with your community, that will help build a firm foundation to take forward into your post-pandemic world.

Be reliable

In a time of mass uncertainty, false messages, ever-changing rules and an overload of advice, take care to only share information from authoritative sources. Read before you retweet. Link with care. Don’t add to the confusion.

Be adaptable

In this ever-evolving situation, we’re all writing the rules as we go, scrubbing words out, starting again. What might have worked six months ago feels wrong and misplaced now. And what might have seemed impossible then is now happening. It’s a time of great leaps in science and healthcare, ways of living and working, and digital communication. Our priorities are shifting, the ground beneath our feet is moving, and we are all learning. So be open to change. Go with the flow. Stay open, honest, curious and, above-all, authentic.

If you need a hand or a second opinion, our door is (figuratively) open. Our team will help you craft your messaging to strike the right tone in English or translated into just about any language. Let’s talk.

By Tamar Bosschaart, Managing Director

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