Whatever you’re doing business-wise to deal with the latest Corona situation, here’s hoping it’s going well amidst the challenges.
But the really big test is often less what you actually do, and more about how effectively you TELL people about what’s going on.
Have the latest twists of Covid-19 – and the latest Coronavirus rules – meant you’ve had to change the way you and your organisation provide services and/or goods?
Or are you able to carry on pretty much as before?
Either way, it’s vital to keep everyone important to you and your organisation in the picture.
This includes your internal audience – those vital members of your own team – who you typically connect with first.
And it involves your external audiences – those clients, prospects, officials, suppliers and members of the media or the public who need to know.
WHAT BAD COMMUNICATION CAN LOOK LIKE
If you want to know how NOT to keep in touch effectively with your most important audience, one august British body has just set a spectacularly bad example.
It’s the University of Manchester where students awoke – on the first day of the new England-wide Coronavirus lockdown – to find workers scarily putting up large metal barriers around their accommodation.
The students had not been told that the barriers were to be installed around their Fallowfield Halls of Residence and many felt they were being trapped.
English Literature student, Ewan, said the fencing was a further blow to those students who had already spent weeks isolating because of Coronavirus.
Management student, Megan, said: “We’re really disappointed we didn’t hear about this beforehand – and about the fact it went up without any explanation.”
Some students said the barriers made them feel as if they were living a prison.
So they did what many students in the free world have traditionally done when they don’t like something. They took direct action.
They ripped the barriers down amidst a mass protest.
The University of Manchester has since apologised “for the concern and distress caused”.
The President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell,
said the fencing was meant to keep unwanted people off the university site.
Dame Nancy pledged that the fences would be taken down.
However, the students – the university’s main customers – had already done much of the work themselves.
Would it have been a good idea to have communicated effectively with the students beforehand – and told them what the fencing was for?
You can check out how the University of Manchester has made itself look in the eyes of current and potential future students by watching this Channel Four News report.
In making its apology, the University of Manchester initially insisted it had written to students informing them about the construction.
However, the university said the fencing had gone up “ahead of the message being seen by halls students”.
Abysmal communications or what???
Here’s your free guide to effectively preparing your communications well in advance. It can assist you throughout Corona Times and beyond.
TELL THEM EARLY – BUT SAY “AMEN” FIRST
This guide aims to enable you get your thoughts together quickly – so you can effectively tell the right people what you’re doing before it’s too late.
It helps you say the right thing in your initial announcements – and to be ready with great answers to tough questions which these announcements can provoke.
The process involves saying “AMEN”.
You don’t need to be religious, but doing the “AMEN” thing helps you marshal your thoughts quickly in advance.
“AMEN” stands for:
A = Audience: Identify the specific audiences who need to know what you’re doing.
M = Message: Work out the essential messages you need to convey to each group or individuals?
E = Examples: Choose the right examples to highlight the evidence behind what you’re doing so audience members can see what you mean.
N = Negatives: Contemplate potential negatives in advance so you’re ready to deal with them – and, better still, phrase your initial announcements so you can potentially head off those negatives before they strike.
There’s more about using the “AMEN” principle in this book:
If you or your team members need help to put this guidance into practice – and to practise getting it closer to perfection – there are online and face-to-face (socially distanced) communications-boosting sessions available to help you.
CLEVER CORONA COMMUNICATIONS
These sessions are called Clever Corona Communications.
They can be run face-to-face, in small groups or for larger audiences.
If you’d like to find out more about how Clever Corona Communications can help you and/or your team, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call 44 (0) 7944 952835 to have a chat.
“AMEN” IN ACTION
Meanwhile here’s an example of “AMEN” in action – on the topic of Clever Corona Communications.
Remember “AMEN” involves the planning to underpin whatever it is you need to communicate.
It’s not the final form of what you say or send – though it helps enormously in getting that final form right.
This a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how I could use “AMEN” to lay the foundations for effectively communicating with you about Clever Corona Communications…
Audience – Wonderful people potentially interested in improving the communications of themselves and/or their teams in challenging times. That’s readers of this Michael Dodd Communications e-zine/blogpost. In a word: YOU!
Message – Boosting your communications skills is vital in fast-moving, challenging Corona Times. Enhancing your communications will make you, your team and your organisation to more effective, more visible and more profitable.
Example – Evidence of how sessions on Clever Corona Communications can help you are at: http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/are-you-getting-your-corona-news-out-there/
Here’s what someone who booked a Clever Corona Communications session on Zoom for business leaders said afterwards:
“Michael Dodd has run many great workshops on different aspects of effective communication for the business leader members of MD2MD. This was the first time I’ve booked him for an Online Zoom session so I was naturally cautious. I needn’t have been. Diligently prepared and expertly presented as always from Michael, our members were very satisfied with his tips and tricks for communicating difficult messages in challenging times. From a practical perspective, his use of breakout rooms was, I thought, especially helpful in getting members to immediately apply the ideas for themselves. So highly recommended in person and now – also – online!”
Bob Bradley, Managing Director, MD2MD
And as giving examples is a matter of putting pictures in the minds of your target audience, here’s what the MD2MD Zoom session looked like.
Negatives – If you don’t prepare your communications early enough and effectively enough you can potentially look as bad as the University of Manchester.
One of the biggest communications dangers in challenging times is not communicating at all – or doing it badly and too late.
USA President-Elect, Joe Biden, isn’t due to be sworn into office until January 2021.
But look how quickly he’s moving already to communicate with those Americans who voted for him – and those who didn’t.
And look how quickly he’s been to get in touch with selected fellow world leaders.
Communicating early, effectively and often tends to work best.
Do the “AMEN” thing early and you’re less likely to have to make a confession later.