For those of you who missed our October webinar, “Creating Strategic Communication Strategies that Work,” don’t despair!
You can read and download the event’s full transcript below.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Eric Wingerter, Chief Communications Officer at the Kapor Center, for spending this hour with us and dropping plenty of knowledge on how organizations can create the best communications strategy available.
If you have any follow-up questions for Eric, please feel free to submit them below and he’d be happy to have a look and provide you with more insights.
SUBMIT FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS
For now, here are some of our event’s main highlights!
What are some of the main challenges faced by organizations when developing a communications strategy?
Eric Wingerter: “We call it communications strategy for a reason. It may sound simple but you really have to think strategically. That means, before you start jumping in, it's really important to understand what your end goal is and really have an understanding of who your audience is. And if you're not sure on either of those things, you just need to do a little bit of research and figure it out, the same way you would do market research in a business. And then your tactics are the different channels of communication, your different messages, but they're always in service of your goals. So you're working backwards like you would in a campaign.”
What are some of the common mistakes made by individuals or organizations when they're communicating with others?
Eric Wingerter: “Giving people too much is a problem. In your world, you deal with very complex technical tax law and…you are often very comfortable in long run-on sentences and very complex technical language. Know that most people aren't… So figure out how to distill complex things into efficient and clear messaging. Sometimes we call it the English-to-English translation… I suggest running your messaging by somebody who is not in your world. And if they have a lot of questions or they do not understand what you're talking about, then you need to refine it and say it in ways that make sense, simply and sustainably.”
“We have a concept in English that we call an elevator pitch. And that means if you're on an elevator going up three floors, you have like 45 seconds that you're going to be interacting with somebody and they say, “What do you do?” You need to be able to have a 45 second answer to that.”
What's the best way to get your message across? How can you craft a message that breaks through? What sort of tools you can use to actually get this done?
Eric Wingerter: “Start off by being human… In terms of thinking strategically, always put your goals first. When it comes to messaging and really creating something that resonates, you keep those goals in mind but you really have to deeply understand your audience: What moves them? Are they going to respond?”
“If we're talking about finance, for example, money motivates people for different reasons. It's not just greed. There are their families, they’re concerned about putting their kids into college, and they want stability and security. What is actually motivating people? And then your messages come from that. Again, the messages have to be short, clear, understandable, free of jargon, but they fundamentally have to be human.”
What would your tips be to people who are not very strong networkers, how can they improve? What are good tips for better networking?
Eric Wingerter: “A couple of things. If you're going in a group, get out of the protective bubble of your group. I think it is really easy in a reception where you don't know a lot of people to just stand next to your work colleague and talk all night. Make sure that you are physically separated because then you're approachable. It feels really awkward for people to stand in a public space like that by yourself. But know that that is exactly what receptions were designed to do. You are supposed to be approachable.”
“The other thing too is…to do a little research before they go [to a conference]. Who is going to be there? It may be that some of your LinkedIn contacts are going to be there. And that's a really good opportunity to reach out to them ahead of time and say, “Hey, can we get coffee while we're there? Can we get a drink?” And often those people will be there with their group. And that's a good time for you to be breaking off into a group that's not your group because then you can build those organic relationships.”
“I would also just advise not to force yourself to continue to be in long drawn out conversations or repeated coffees with somebody that you don't like naturally… These are real human relationships and I think that it's important that they be treated as such and not like “What can I get out of it” kind of thing.”
How should organizations tackle multicultural and multigenerational differences?
Eric Wingerter: “The best way to tackle these things is to have diversity on your team. You need to have young and old. You need to have, wherever you are in the world, representation from key constituencies on your team. Because in the US context, you can get 100 white Stanford educated dudes in a room talking about how to connect with women or talking about how to connect with African-American customers, and they're never going to come up with the answer because they don't have the lived experience to know how to build those connections. So all the research has shown that diverse companies are strong companies because they could collectively understand all of their market.”
Plenty more useful insights into how to build a strong communications strategy found in the full transcript HERE.