Ever wonder how PR pros usually know how to say the right thing at the right time, no matter whom they’re addressing?
Communication is an essential part of public relations—so it’s important for those of us in the field to excel at it. Many public relations professionals are social by nature, which certainly helps. We possess an innate desire to interact with other people, whether it be through speech, writing, video, photography, or any other form of media.
Excellent communication is the hallmark of any relationship—not just in public relations, but in every aspect of life. So whether you’re a CEO, a restaurant owner, a crisis management executive, or any other type of leader, these tricks of the trade that I’m about to share will help you become a more effective communicator.
5 PR Rules for Effective Communication
Use these golden rules of communication to communicate better with clients, employees, customers and other folks you interact with regularly:
- Be proactive. As a leader, the onus is on you to stay in regular contact with your clients or customers. Different people have different preferred communication methods (i.e., phone, text, email). The key is to find the right platform and proactively communicate to keep your relationships strong.
I make it a point to be in touch with my clients face-to-face (or virtually) at least once a month. This continuous contact gives me insight into new developments and opportunities in their organizations that I may have never known about otherwise.
- Be adaptable. Good communicators are adaptable enough to transition smoothly and nimbly from one communication style to another. This skill allows you to tailor your message so that it effectively reaches the person you’re talking to.
Engineers, for example, respond well to data and statistics, while artists may be more drawn to anecdotes or stories. You’ll address customers, employees, and board members with a slightly different message, even if you’re speaking about the same topic to every audience. Pay attention to what engages the person you’re speaking to, and adjust your communication style accordingly.
- Be responsive. Responding in a timely manner shows people you’re interested in keeping the conversation going. I make every attempt to respond to texts, emails, and calls as soon as I possibly can—even if it’s just to acknowledge I received their message and will follow up later.
While you want to be responsive, setting boundaries around communication helps avoid getting stuck in your inbox all day. I like to check email three times a day as a general rule. It allows you to practice responsiveness while still leaving time for other important work.
- Be authentic. No matter our differences, we’re all united by our shared humanity. Keep that in mind regardless of who your audience is or what topic you’re discussing. PR is all about storytelling, and for good reason: people long for genuine connection in all aspects of their life. There are few better ways to connect than by sharing a personal experience.
Instead of presenting another stale PowerPoint slide at a team meeting or repeating your impersonal pitch to a potential client, tell a story that illustrates the concepts you want to share. You’ll be surprised at how well your audience responds to this approach!
- Be clear and confident. If you need to take a stance on an issue or impart a critical directive to your team, be sure to present a clear and concise message. People find security and assurance in strong and direct communication, especially in challenging situations.
The need for this kind of messaging has been stronger than ever this last year and a half, as people have relied on strong leaders to usher them through a time of overwhelming uncertainty and unpredictability.
If you’d like support honing your communication and messaging skills, I’m here to help. I work with the best executive coaches and communications consultants in the business, and I’d be happy to connect you with someone to support you. Reach out today to learn more.