How to Build Effective Communication - a Guide for Patient Organization Leaders
Effective communication is the art of selecting the right tools so that a specific audience can hear and understand you better. Your patient organization builds dialogue with a large and diverse group of stakeholders every day; that is why a good set of communication tools is very useful. It will help you get your message across more successfully and reach the goal of your conversations with important audiences.
To maintain effective communication with various audiences, take into account the following three crucial factors:
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
Understanding your audience
The first step is to correctly define the audience you want to communicate with.
Once you have done that, try to get to know and characterize them. Put yourself in their position. What do they do? What are they interested in? What are their needs and goals? How do they communicate? What language do they speak? Where are they particularly active in the traditional media or social media?
Each audience has different goals and communicates in its own way. When you know the other party better, you can shape your message more consciously and effectively.
WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?
The next crucial step is to define the messages you want to get across to your predefined audiences.
An effective message is a memorable one. You will achieve that when your message is: clear and concise, easy to remember, consistent and repeatable. Remember! Do not confuse your message with other forms of expression like slogans, facts, or your patient organization’s mission statement.
A proof point that substantiates your message and builds its credence should be an integral part of your communication. Always remember to support your point with credible arguments and evidence. Use facts, statistics, research, anecdotes, or visualizations. They will make your audience more receptive and willing to remember your message.
For more basic communication tips see this animation.
HOW ARE YOU TALKING?
Conversation control techniques
How to get your message across and ensure you are heard and understood well? This is where conversation control techniques come in. Watch this video and find out how to use them!
Selecting your online communication channel
Online communication is an important factor in reaching the right stakeholders with your message. In our digital era, audiences expect communicators to reach them wherever they are active themselves, including social media. So how do you select the right channel and customize it for your audiences?
By spreading your organization’s core messages, Facebook enables educating audiences and building their awareness of your relevant health areas of interest. Moreover, the nature of the platform helps you keep in touch with e.g. patients and their families.
Here you can post less official content, for example images, pictures, animations or videos showing event preparations or the everyday work of your organization.
Choose this business platform to position your experts and your organization online. With Twitter, you can also follow the profiles of other influential people and institutions, comment on current events in the health sector, and interact with other stakeholders and organizations.
Individuals, businesses and organizations can create their virtual CVs on LinkedIn. Such a professional business card can be useful when you want to give your stakeholders a brief overview of your patient organization’s goals, activities, and achievements.
For more information about the specific social media platforms, please see this infographic.
Social media DO’s & DONT’s
What should you do after you’ve selected the right platform for your stakeholders? How to behave in social media? Watch this video!