If you can clearly articulate the dream or the goal, start. Simon Sinek
How did you feel when you began your business or took leadership of a team? What were your intentions, goals, and ideals? Use those feelings and core values as your communications’ GPS.
Maybe you’ve lost sight of your core values—that spark that motivated you? If so, go back to your mission statement. Or grab a pencil and write out a new one, one that reflects truly and deeply what you want your business to stand for. Think about what you offer your clients. Ask why they return time after time, or why they don’t. Consider the impact, positive or negative, of your written output—the emails, the proposals, and memos. Do they truly reflect what your business stands for? Are they building relationships or driving clients away? Make sure you are not creating platitudes that are empty but sound good. Think consistency, authenticity and clarity.
Here are three ways to get you started.
1. Think about content.
Start by asking how you can uphold those ideals in your written output. What do your communications look like if values are based on innovation? Or community? How do these values translate into your marketing, internal directives, proposals and reports? Do you represent yourself accurately? Does your message reflect your dedication to the community—even when firing an employee? Does your love of innovation shine even when you are communicating a setback in product development? If your core value is integrity, are you willing forgo using euphemisms to soften the blow of an uncomfortable admission? So you see, your messaging must speak to the ideal as often as it can.
2. Think about writing fundamentals.
Choose a vocabulary that reflects who you are. Sophisticated? Intelligent? Simple? Trendy? Accessible? Traditional? Also, sentence style matters. Keeping ideas simple and to the point suggests efficiency and authority. Once you have the writing style and tone, remember grammar. You can be conservative; however, knowing when to break from tradition and relying on less formal choices support certain values.
3. Think about practice.
It isn’t just what you write; it’s how you handle the communication.
The choice to 'cc' all those involved in a communication, for instance, sends a clear message of transparency and integrity. Responding to emails quickly suggests a value of efficiency and respect. Proofreading your work reflects excellence.
As your ideas develop, strategize with your team. Once the mission is understood, discuss goals openly as they relate to communication. To get everyone on board, encourage the contribution of ideas about how a strong communications plan can better reflect the company’s value system. The more buy-in you have as a team, the clearer your message will be.
The wonderful thing about aligning with core values (if you remain committed), is that your communications will become a constant reminder of why you do what you do and how that translates into what your organization stands for. And that is really saying something.