Effective Communication Strategies

Introduction

Communication is arguably the cornerstone on which any successful relationship, be it business or personal, is built. The importance of effective communication is universally acknowledged, and as Greene and Burleson (2003, p.8) demonstrate, a lot of research has been taken on the subject and numerous books written so as to help people improve their skills so as to make them more effective in their communication efforts.

There exist various factors that one should always consider when setting up effective communication strategies. The strategy adopted is especially significant since it may result in the success or failure of the communication efforts. In all communications, the audiences form an integral part and should therefore be given special consideration. In this paper, I shall discuss the various considerations that I must have in mind when presenting quarterly sales information to an audience that comprises of a group of managers, salespeople, and customers.

Communication Strategies

Communication involves the sending and receiving of messages, and it forms an integral part of any culture (Adair, 2009). In the quarterly sales presentations, it is important to understand the given audience before presenting the quarterly sales information.

This is because studying one’s audience makes it easier to communicate or pass information to them as required. With a diverse audience of customers, managers, and sales people, it would be easier to know the different characteristics of the people I will be dealing with. Some of the vital characteristics to consider include; education and literacy level, gender, age, income levels, attitudes, race, and size. These characteristics affect the type of message that needs to be developed, how it will be developed, and the type of communications channels to use that will be most relevant to each category of my audience (Adair, 2009).

The education levels greatly influence the type of message to be conveyed. It is imperative to design and develop a message and use channels that all audiences will understand. This means the message should be simple, with few or no technical terms (Greene & Burleson, 2003). Gender is also very important as it influences the message being passed on. If, for instance, an organization mainly deals with feminine products, then a presentation with the use of certain terms associated with the female gender would be effective. The same terms would, however, not be as easily understood and as effective if used with a male audience.

Age is also another characteristic that we cannot overlook. Different age levels dictate different levels of understanding and different interests. It is, therefore, important to know the age group of the salespeople, the managers, and the customers, especially in order to develop a more effective message and choose appropriate mediums of communication that appeals to most.

The income levels would also be a factor to consider. It is important to know what income levels the customers range, especially in line with our targets as an organization. This is because the income level of an individual depicts their purchasing power (Hargie, 2006). I would, therefore, be more aware of the language to use not to offend participants. For instance, when listing financial performance, it would seem contentious to state that we decided to increase the price of our products as they were too cheap to cover our expenses. The key to note is that what would be too cheap for one individual could be too expensive for another.

Being an in-person meeting, the best modes of communication to apply would be the use of oral and written communication. Written communication would come in different forms, such as a PowerPoint presentation, making it easy to reach each individual, especially if the audience size is large (Greene & Burleson, 2003). Another form of written communication would be materials such as handouts or printouts of brochures or leaflets with the key information. A book on sales performance and statistical information could also be handed out. Written communication serves advantages such as referencing; it also makes a provision to go into lengthy details as it can be as big as a book.

It would also be easier to understand, especially when coupled with graphics, charts, or tables. Oral communication, on the other hand, would come in handy when explaining in brief or when highlighting the key details. It also provides a forum for participation, as there could be a question and answer session that prompts feedback from the audience. Oral communication would cater to the uneducated audience or the blind. It is also cheaper than written communication as the costs pertaining to its set up are lower.

There are key indicators when dealing with a diverse audience, and one of them is the channels of communication. There are various channels of communication, and each is more effective with a particular audience. For instance, it would be unprofessional to overlook the fact that part of an audience could be physically challenged, either blind or deaf, and adequate preparation for the right channel means having facilities that cater to such. The message developed would also be another indicator that one must take note of. Under these are aspects such as the language to use. Not all stakeholders share the same language; thus, it would be important to factor in translators.

It would also be important to ensure that the terms used are easy to understand and not too technical, and if any, they should be simplified to laymen’s language (Hargie, 2006). The mode of eliciting feedback should also be considered as different audiences prefer different forms. For instance, some prefer electronics; others would prefer writing, while others may prefer orally dictating (Hargie, 2006).

In order to ensure the message is effective, it is important to consider the relevant channel of communication as settling for the correct channel ensures the message is relayed in the most appropriate manner. It would also be vital to develop a relevant message, and this ensures that the correct information is passed on. This entails understanding the audience, and once accomplished, it will then be easier to appropriately develop the message (Adair, 2009). Setting objectives that one hopes to achieve through the message can also help ensure the message is not only effective but well understood. This can be finally evaluated through an identified method, for instance, by reviewing feedback received from the audience.

Conclusion

This paper set out to discuss the various considerations that one must have in mind when addressing a mixed audience at a quarterly sales information presentation. The paper has underlined the audience characteristics that I would need to consider, the communication channels that would be appropriate, and the measures that I would take to ensure that my message is effective. This essay has demonstrated that when addressing a mixed audience, the message must be clear, correct, and concise, and more so, the channels of communicating must be relevant enough to accommodate the diverse audience. Additionally, satisfactory audience analysis should be conducted to avoid any discomfiture during the communication process.

References

Adair. J. (2009). Effective Communication: The Most Important Management Skill of All. Pan Macmillan.

Greene. O.J. & Burleson. R.B. (2003). Handbook of Communication and Social Interaction Skills. Routledge.

Hargie. O. (2006). The Handbook of Communication Skills. Taylor & Francis.