“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity”. -- Nat Turner
I wholeheartedly agree with him. The question, however, is: What makes communication 'good' and what would make communication 'bad'? Is it in how you say it? Or is it in what you say? Does your tone matter? Does language matter? And while in the question of language: What if there is a language barrier? And what about context? And so on...
Whatever you want to communicate, it's important to understand why you're doing it in the first place. And understand that it's not simply about you making your way to the other side of the bridge to bring your message. The goal is to communicate so clearly and so effectively, that all that the friend, family member, customer or business effortlessly does is meet you in the middle. (That's 'good' communication in a nutshell.)
And yes, you can absolutely utilize strategic communication in your everyday life – in and outside of work. You simply need to understand the steps it'll take to achieve clarity in your next conversation or communication initiative.
As a former Publicist, I learned very early on what I needed to convey to journalists, the media, and the audience when sharing a client. There were six questions I needed to answer, and answer well. Those questions were always:
The who. The what. The where. The when. The why. And the how.
Let's look at strategic communications for the sake of your brand messaging. Here's how you can apply this "PR formula":
The who: Who is your audience?
- Who are you communicating with or hoping to communicate with? Do you understand who they are and what they value and how you can relate to one another?
The what: What is your message and goal of your message?
- Do you want to get a point across? Do you want to propose a partnership? Whatever the intended goal of communicating "this" message. You cannot give someone clarity if you haven't identified the goal yourself.
The where: Where is your audience?
- If you know your audience, you should know where they are. And if you know where they are, you should take the time to know what drives them.
The why: Why does/should your message matter to your audience?
- Why should your audience listen? Is it a win for them? What value will come of this? Define the 'why' behind your action.
The when: When will this message be communicated?
- Your company should be communicating with your audience, regularly and year round. But if you have a specific campaign coming up, or a new product you'd like to launch, or simply something new you'd like to communicate; it's smart to know ahead of time when you'd like to communicate that message and through which mediums. Timing in communication matters.
The how: How will your message be communicated?
- If you know the answers to all of the above, you will know how to proceed with communicating your message.
Strategic communication is simply knowing your audience, what you'd like to communicate and then vocalizing it accordingly to how they (your audience) will listen. If you care to answer the above questions, before initiating a conversation/sharing a message with your audience, you'll know how to communicate clearly, concisely, effectively and on purpose.
And then? Remain consistent to this formula again and again.