Tag: #PR

Interest, Empathy & Resilience- Winning Skills for an Effective Communication

Good communication is not to impress but to discover possibilities, to gain advocates, to improve life for others, to resolve issues, to be heard and most importantly to be understood. Whether the communication is through mass media, face-to-face verbal or non-verbal, the challenge is how to breathe friendly, skilled, knowledge-based and mindful basics into your dialogue.
There are many factors that influence the outcome of our communication still our attitude will determine the course of the interaction. The dynamic approach to cultivate sentiments of compassion, curiosity and remain flexible will support our content and intention. With this view in mind, the pitfalls of communicating across cultures, businesses or interpersonal relations can be avoided by tweaking our style of communication based on the following tips:

Be interested

From your non-verbal cues such as eye contact, posture, or position of your arms to keep track of the conversation, the critical element is to be attentive. By asking relevant questions, replacing unnecessary conversation fillers like “um”, “er”,… with pause to think and respond are the effective way to engage your listeners and show your interest. Make sure to avoid personal judgements and allow people to finish their sentences.

Dale Carnegie meeting Spencer Trace - Getty Image
Dale Carnegie meeting Spencer Trace – Getty Image

Have Empathy

Empathy is not about agreement, is the ability to pass through emotions, threats and  complexities with confidence and awareness. Nurturing our mirror neurons by observing and being mindful of people’s emotional experiences, builds trust and effectively improves your dialogue.

Barack Obama’s speech in 2013 to the People of Northern Ireland, embodies hope and empathy to sustain union:

“Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation. And I know, because America, we, too, have had to work hard over the decades, slowly, gradually, sometimes painfully, in fits and starts, to keep perfecting our union.”

The first step is to listen empathetically. This means listening with the intention to understand. By doing so, the receiver establishes a positive climate for the speaker to open up. Repeat what has been said with the same words and summarize in you own way to make the speaker aware that you have understood what is the issue or the story. It is a great moment when we stop judging, probing or interpreting someone else’s experiences and motives.

Barack Obama Visit to Ireland - White House Image
Barack Obama Visit to Ireland – White House Image

Be Resilient

A resilient communication process is an approach to evaluate a situation or crisis by breathing normality to the interaction, validating the negative feelings and focusing on positive course of action. Clearly, spearheading constant optimism is ineffective without use of alternative logic. Broadly speaking, resilience in crisis management is when optimism and a narrative to make sense of the situation serve as the roadmap to develop and maintain a good communication. Importantly, resilience develops when the focus is on the communication process rather than examining individuals or entities to refrain from the unnecessary and unwarranted assumptions.

Winston Churchill’s war speeches are great examples of acknowledging the reality and drawing a vivid picture with hope. Here is an excerpt of his speech “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” May 1940 at the House of Commons.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. 

Resilience depends on confidence and optimism. People do not all react the same way or every situation is dire, still a resilient communication helps to keep things in perspective. The capacity to be realistic, maintaining a positive outlook and developing a narrative to cope with the unwanted situation is called resilience. We should all remember that resilience is an obligation not only to self but to community at large.

Winston Churchill - Image from Winston Churchill Org.
Winston Churchill – Image from Winston Churchill Org.

 

Featured Image by:  GERRY ELLIS, MINDEN PICTURES – National Geography

 

Five tips: For an Effective Awareness Campaign

How to run an effective awareness campaign? Regardless of the industry, your message whether rewarding or penalizing is to motivate your audience. The overarching goal of your communication strategy from achieving a social mission to other ends of the spectrum increasing investor’s wealth depends on your narrative.

From Prehistoric caveman to present day, we all need to connect, entertain or educate through storytelling. True, the means to disseminate stories have evolved and we have many options to connect with our audience, thanks to technology advances. However, the essential element of your story is to bind your vision to the expectations, emotions or aspirations of your listeners.

Here are 5 tactics to incorporate into your storytelling initiatives:

  • Clearly define the problem, the resolution and recognize the style suitable to unify the audience’s mind.  Whether you are gushing hope or change, meaningful and authoritative communication will mobilize support.
  • Convey your story in a non-linear way to prevent passive consumption. By creating  a coordinated multi-media narrative, you nudge your audience to share enthusiastically. Tying up your content across multiple platforms reinforces your message and the story takes a life of its own.
  • Repetition is effective because that it sways attitudes and fuels engagement. Delivering key messages in different context and multiple times, granted, will be received, will become familiar and gain traction.
  • Show people the roadmap or specify a timeline whether to prompt a one time action or spur a change in sentiment/preference.
  • Create a conceivable image and allow the audience to experience and exceed their expectations instead of introducing a Utopia leading to disappointment.
  • The manner you communicate your story is of the utmost importance. Creating a powerful narrative by producing a video, use of imagery combined with music amplifies key messages, persuades and makes it memorable to your consumers.

Plan all the way to the end

You are ready to share your talent, your skills or your product with the world, NOW WHAT?

“Experience shows that, if one foresees from far away the designs to be undertaken, one can act with speed when the moment comes to execute them”Cardinal Richelieu 1585-1642

Plan, Plan & Plan. Creating a comprehensive plan will stop your to react emotionally and be in improvisation mode. Rigidity and over-planning are to anticipate crisis and bring clarity to your intentions & objectives. Improvisation leads to faking and ignoring the challenges at hand. A vague plan generates thoughtless actions which in turn  damage your brand identity.

“As water has no constant form, there are in warfare no constant conditions.” Sun Tzu

Adapting to uncertainty & having alternatives are to muster your team and thoroughly specify responsibilities.

Research your market, the competition, analyze, set deadlines,  milestones, coordinate and evaluate. Be rigorous in your end results still be flexible in the content.

“Do the right thing,…”, Sun Tzu

Do remember that an effective public relations plan is not about positive image more about sharing valuable information in the most creative and relevant ways. Authenticity, accuracy and reliability are your guiding lights to plan every step of the way.

“Those who do not use local guides are unable to obtain the advantages of the ground.” Sun Tzu

In the peer-to-peer culture, collaboration with influencers and journalists is important and crucial element of your plan. Partnering to create contents, having designated ambassadors and fathom solutions to better your community would be a powerful strategy.

A winning PR campaign knows its audience, has a concise and persuasive narrative, follows through the plan and is not distracted by outside factors. Be disciplined and communicate repeatedly your key messages. The golden rule for a plan to succeed is to keep the flow of communication with all involved.

Re-Create Yourself

There are no perfect paths in life, nor has anyone spent their entire existence happy, secure, and moving forward towards all their dreams. Dark moments and rough patches are part of every person’s life, but you don’t have to let your failings or mistakes define you.

At the end of the day, we are responsible for the way we show our face to the world, and if we want to change our lives, then we must forge a new identity. Never let someone else tell you who you are or what your role in the world will be. If you want to be a commanding, powerful figure, then play the part. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, Be the change you want to see in yourself.

People have been overcoming adversity to achieve great things since time immemorial. Instead of lying down and letting others tell you what your purpose is, you must reach out and make your own way in the world.

Consider the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, who was involved in a deadly car accident in 1969 that left his female companion dead and many unanswered questions floating around in the waters around Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. Instead of allowing the controversy to break his spirit, he instead resolved to succeed and became a dedicated public servant and served as a respected U.S. senator for four decades.

The point is, wielding power in the wider world begins by taking control of your own life, avoiding meaningless excuses, and holding yourself accountable to your limitations and your potential. Being honest with yourself about your weaknesses is a great place to start, and that sincerity will come off as authenticity to others, which is important when you’re redefining yourself.

As Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” You must first accept your mistakes and limitations and put them behind you. Once they are safely in your rear view mirror, you can focus on your strengths, which will be the foundation for this new, brighter, and better version of yourself.

However, the most important element in re-creating yourself is the mindset you carry with you. You need to be bold, shedding your old fears, trying new things, living purposefully, and appreciating the opportunities in your life as they arise. After redefining who you want to be and what you want to achieve in life, every situation will feel fresh, and each day will feel like a new opportunity for discovery. The face you show to the world must be bold, confident, and determined not to let anyone else shape your life. Traditions, expectations, and limitations foisted on you by others will only hinder the re-creation of your identity.

Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States, but his life story is one of perpetual recreation. Following a successful career in the Navy, he was elected as a United States Senator, and then the governor of Georgia, before winning the US presidency in 1976. Most people would be satisfied with being the Commander in Chief, but Carter followed his presidency with his most impressive identity recreation. For more than 30 years, the Carter Center has been a beacon of hope for millions around the world, supporting human rights campaigns, affordable housing, international conflict resolution, and disease prevention. Jimmy Carter was even awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his groundbreaking work, and remains the only US president to receive the prize for his work after leaving the White House.

Perhaps now you can see how identity is far from concrete. The creation of our identity never stops, and we must look at ourselves as malleable clay that we can shape as we grow. In a sense, we are artists, painting the masterpiece of our lives. Recognizing this opportunity can spark the process of re-creation, empowering us to grow up, take risks, make more mistakes, and eventually find greatness.