Feel free to dispute this, but I reckon in 2020 we humans have just been through the toughest 365 days’ worth of challenges of any year so far this millennium.
This is associated with the fact that we’ve also just been through the toughest COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES of the 2000s so far.
And these communications challenges continue at speed.
The communications difficulties have been triggered by an upsurge of Coronavirus-fuelled “VUCA” – which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
This VUCA has been further augmented by:
+ The long-running confusion and difficulty of reaching a trade agreement over the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union
+ The unprecedented madness generated by the now-defeated outgoing occupant of The White House.
Communication at any time tends to be harder to get right than many people realise.
But communicating during times of excessive Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity is understandably more difficult.
Because there’s so much ongoing change in VUCA periods, successful communication in VUCA times requires more and better planning – and higher skill levels in delivering on that planning.
Each of the three main VUCA-generating factors – Coronavirus, Brexit and Trumpism – have made communication especially challenging this past year.
The good news is that there have been big positive developments on each of these three fronts which have just started coming together.
These have been:
+ The development and distribution of anti-coronavirus vaccines offering light at end of the Covid-19 tunnel of chaos
+ The implementation of the last-ditch trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom
+ The approaching departure of the most erratic and unstable president ever to preside over the United States – even though he’s kicking, screaming and doing whatever he can, legally and otherwise, to disrupt his country and the world on his way out.
Each of these factors contain essentially good news, but are nonetheless further adding to the unpredictability of 2021.
And amidst these positive turns there’s been no shortage of “What ifs” to worry about:
+ What if the vaccines don’t work so well against the new variants of Coronavirus?
+ What if the last-minute nature of the Brexit deal causes ongoing havoc as officials in the UK, France and Ireland struggle to work out what the fine print means for different sectors of the economy?
+ What if the UK and the European Union struggle to find agreement on the remaining things that need to be sorted, such as a deal on financial services?
+ What if the oldest ever US President to be elected – Joe Biden – starts to falter, and Donald Trump makes a comeback attempt for the 2024 election – either for himself or for one of his, er, less-than-enlightened family members?
So even though we’re starting the year with more justified positivity than we’ve had for a long time, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity still lurk everywhere.
This turns all 2021 communications into an ongoing challenge.
But these challenges can be overcome!
INSPIRATION FROM THE NATURAL WORLD
Here’s some inspiration from a communication genius who has put out his own break-through start-the-year message.
This is from someone who wants to save the planet – and, as part of that, needs to make sure he gets the highest number of people watching his latest TV series.
This outstanding 2021 message is from the broadcasting naturalist, Sir David Attenborough.
Sir David has a simple, powerful and compelling 2021 message for the world.
The message is encapsulated in the final words of this video:
“Let’s make 2021 a happy new year for all the inhabitants of our perfect planet.”
“A Perfect Planet” happens to be name of Sir David’s latest BBC nature show – the first amazing episode of which has just gone to air and can still be viewed on the BBC’s iPlayer service.
You can watch Sir David’s message in the show’s video promotion – which is just under 2 minutes long – by clicking here:
If you want to take a step towards getting your 2021 communications to Sir David levels, here’s some potential help…
WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE?
When you’re working out what you’ll do to tackle each big challenge that VUCA throws at you in 2021, then much of your success will depend on how you communicate about what you’ve decided.
Remember, in every communication challenge you need the right headline message about the situation you’re addressing.
Once you’ve worked out the right headline message – and any supporting messages – for each specific audience then you can weave these message into your:
- Internal Presentations
- External Presentations
- Professional conversations
- Answers in media interviews
Michael Dodd Communications can help you to do this by working with you to:
+ Identify, better understand and connect with your key audiences
+ Figure out what is the best headline message – and additional messages – for you for each of your various audiences
+ Select and talk about the right examples to back up each message
+ Help prepare you to combat any perceived negatives that your announcements may involve
+ Help you sound, look and feel at your best as you get your messages across.
Delivering your messages in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations is a high degree of difficulty challenge.
But it is a learnable skill.
Michael Dodd Communications helps tackle these challenges in VUCA times in 2 ways.
- It can train you and your team to enhance your communication skills so you can handle the challenges better
- It can go beyond training and work alongside you and/or colleagues to directly help prepare presentations, announcements or the draft scripts for expected challenging conversations with clients, prospects, officials etc.
DON’T BE THE NEXT GAVIN
Whatever you need to communicate, the important thing is to avoid being as baffling, confusing and self-contradicting as the UK Education Department has been over the past week.
Its political leaders have tried to face up to the tough question of question of whether London’s schools should be kept open or closed amidst the latest upsurge of the new variation of Covid-19.
In summary that message from the education leadership has been something like this:
Is that clear???
If you want to be able to send out mangled mixed messages to rival this, please contact the British Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.
If you need to be able to send out clear, easy-to-understand, confidence-enhancing messages that inspire the action you seek, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or to discuss how to best tackle your communications challenges, call: 44 (0) 7944 952835.
Whichever choice you make, all the very best with getting your break-through messages across amidst the ongoing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of 2021.