The 3 C’s of good communication
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
-Juliet, in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
When you name a company, you get all sorts of advice:
“Name it after yourself.”
“Pick a name that’s easy to remember.”
“Don’t name it after yourself.”
“Make sure you can get the URL.”
Old Bill Shakespeare may have been right that names don’t matter – the smell of a rose would be the same if we called it schnickadoke, and ultimately if our company were called Rutberg Communications, or SayIt! Communications, or Seattle Business Writing and Public Speaking, we’d be doing the same work at the same level of quality and with the same pride.
So, why 3C?
The answer is, it is a statement of principle. A declaration of intent, a stake in the ground that says “this is important, please pay attention.” It’s a way for our team and me to signal to clients and prospective clients what our values are, and what the experience of working with us will be like.
The first “C” is Create.
It’s the answer to the question of, “what do you have to say?” Not what must you say, but what content do you have, what “inventory” of possible messages. Of all the things you can say about a subject – a product, a service, an initiative, a bit of history – what should you focus on and what will accomplish your objective with the intended audience(s) for your message?
When you create your message, you must be intentional, considering the audience who will be reading, watching, or hearing your message; deciding the themes that are most important for you to share so your message gets across; and finding the stories that take bare facts and clothe them in interesting, ways that drive emotion, to make them easier to understand and remember.
To go deep in creating a message, you can use a Messaging Framework. This tool allows a person, group, or company to consider where the value is within their message – what are the key points that “ladder up” to the whole picture, how to phrase a value proposition, a benefit statement, and to find the stories that bring the themes, values, and benefits to life.
(Look for future posts about this valuable tool, and how to create one for your message.)
The second “C” is Communicate, which you can do once you have determined how to make your message resonate with your intended audience. Consider all the ways you have to get your clear message delivered to your audience – in my career in communications I’ve worked on print, radio, and TV advertising; posters; PowerPoints; manuals; newsletters; videos; seminars and webinars; podcasts; blogs and vlogs; direct mail; social media; printed, online, and in-person training; sermons; speeches; and probably others I’ve forgotten.
The best message in the world won’t get through without a platform. Picking the right approach is some art, some science (welcome to the world of analytics!), and some magic, plus trial and error. At 3C we work with our clients to select the best vehicles for carrying the message, and then use the unique characteristics of each to maximize its return.
The third “C” is Connect with your audience, which is what you are building toward as you develop your messaging strategy with your Messaging Framework, and as you build your Communications Plan when picking the formats and channels you’re going to use to share your message.
The point of planning is to make sure you don’t simply rely on what you know about your topic, or just use the same channels “we’ve always used,” but that you begin, plan, and end with the audience in mind. Then, when it’s time to turn your Messaging Framework into well-written copy, or you’re getting ready to begin your presentation or speech, you’ll be ready to engage your audience on their terms, shaping their perception and anticipating your call to action.
When we talk with clients about connecting we emphasize using language the audience understands – hitting them with words, stories, and key points that align with their understanding of the world, that answer their questions, that build trust. We talk about coming across as relatable and empathetic with great stories, body language, and eye contact. We talk about driving emotion by humanizing your facts with stories.
Create. Communicate. Connect.
It’s not a “one after the other” approach – these are the three keys that, taken together and executed in alignment, will bring you success in your marketing and communications. And it’s what 3C Communications loves to help our clients achieve.