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February 01, 2018

For effective corporate messaging, variety is key

We all have our go-to communication tools, whether it's an email, phone call, text message, face-to-face meeting or social media update.

 

But in corporate messaging, a variety of stakeholders must be considered. So, your message must match both your audience and the type of message being shared.

 

In general, the greater the impact on the person or persons receiving the information, the more personal the medium should be. The lower the impact, the less personal the medium. Here are common messaging types and what circumstances they might be right for.

Face-to-face meetings

If the news you have to share will personally affect the recipient, face-to-face meetings are best. This is especially true for bad news, such as a paycut or layoff. Face-to-face meetings are also important when communicating something complicated or something that could have a massive impact on the organization as a whole, such as a potential merger. Generally, such meetings are only for internal partners. However, you may want to go in-person for meetings with investors or if your organization is being targeted by an activist group.

Email

Email is convenient. You send it when you're ready and they read it when they're ready. For that reason, you shouldn't use it if your message is urgent. Before choosing email, assess how complicated your message is.

 

For internal emails, consider this rule of thumb: If it takes you more four or more paragraphs to explain, consider picking up the phone or going in-person. If it takes up less than a paragraph, you may want to use a text or instant message.

 

However, for external communications be more liberal with your assessments. Even though an external audience member may have consented to phone calls or text messages, people often find them more invasive than email, and you risk irking them.

Social media posting

Social media is a place for less serious messages. Meant mainly for external audiences, here you can build an emotional connection and demonstrate your brand.

 

When an organization has positive information to be shared far and wide, posting it on social media channels will help word travel fast. A new product introduction or the announcement of a prestigious award are great social media fodder.

 

It's always better to err on the side of being more personal and more individualized with corporate messaging, versus posting far and wide on social media before anyone internally has heard the news.

Marcia Layton Turner is an award-winning freelancer who writes regularly about small business and entrepreneurship. Her work has appeared in Entrepreneur, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Black Enterprise, as well as at Forbes, CNNMoney and Amex OPEN Forum, among dozens of others.

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