With my apologies to old colleagues who’ve heard me say this a million times, my “three Rs” for effective communications are…
Relevance, Resonance, and Reason.
Communication fails at the first hurdle if it does not have target audience relevance. Effective communication is not about quantity, it’s about quality. More communication is not necessarily better communication. in fact it rarely is. Good communication is about targeting.
The key to success is to invest time and effort to understand audiences and to understand which audiences matter and why. Different people want, or think they want, to hear different things.
One definition of resonance in physics is “the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.”
This can be a great route to maximising the impact of a communication. It’s about synchronising what we say with what others are saying through alignment, endorsement, and familiarity to reflect words back from different sources.
A one-dimensional approach to communication rarely works. People do not live in one dimension, so communication shouldn’t either. Resonant communication is when we hear somebody else doing our communicating for us.
To me the single most important question to answer when considering any communication in any context is to ask the reason.
Why is there a challenge or opportunity. Why are “we” in the position we are and why do we want to change it.
The key reason to understand is the reason for the communication itself. To understand the organisational outcome desired, not the communication output proposed.