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Employees look to their leaders to understand the vision for their organization. Unfortunately, today’s leaders are often so busy executing on that vision, they forget to invest time and energy into effectively communicating with the people who need to hear it most.
If you’re an executive looking to improve your organization’s communications function, we recommend looking to your own practices first. The tone is set at the top, so good communication starts with you.
When defining your vision, it’s critical to remain true to yourself and what you believe.
Often, we see executives try to insert themselves into public conversations or the latest TikTok trend. While this can pay off, it must be done thoughtfully and in alignment with your organization’s vision, or you risk coming across as inauthentic. Proof of this is in the countless brands that have come close to being canceled – at least temporarily – after advocating for policies as PR moves meant to capitalize on current events, rather than being driven by a commitment to an issue or cause connected to company culture or purpose.
Instead, executives should focus on treating their employees fairly, practicing compassion because it’s what they believe in, and clearly communicating what they are doing to take care of their people, support their customers, and deliver value to other stakeholders. If there is an opportunity to connect these efforts to a relevant trend or current event, even better, but that should never be the primary focus.
Once you define your vision, it’s time to execute it. Communications strategies must integrate both internal and external-facing tactics, and —in today’s world—it’s better to follow an inside-out approach when it comes to your executive communications. That means ensuring your employees are aligned with your goals before making bold moves in your external-facing strategy. Internal and external communications are no longer separate and a company-wide note from the CEO is nearly guaranteed to end up on social media.
Instead of shying away from social, executives should look to leverage its power. With social media, executives can leverage their public personas, to add personality, credibility, expertise—even humility—to messages that can reach broad audiences. This can mean publishing a personal post at the same time as a company news release about a new line of business. Or it may allow a leader to quickly respond to online questions and concerns about a major change within the organization. Social media gives executives greater control over their message by allowing them to speak directly to audiences in their own voice on the platforms where employees are most likely to be looking for breaking news.
Even when engaging traditional media, executives can leverage their individual voice to create a positive narrative. Humans process and recall information best when it’s presented in a meaningful narrative, and executives can use these storytelling techniques during interviews to forge connections with audiences and improve recall of the company’s defining mission.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of personal touch. Whether you’re present for in-person town hall meetings or hosting coffee chats, visibility by leadership goes a long way when establishing trust and building credibility with employees.
Ultimately, no matter what tactics you choose to incorporate into your overall executive communications strategy, it’s most important to focus on your core values and highlight fairness, transparency, and equity in all that you do.
IRI Consultants is well versed in communication strategies to position executives as true champions and leaders for their organization. Not only do our communications professionals guide the strategy from the get-go, but they also take the time to learn the ins and outs of an organization, as well as the voice, values, and beliefs of each individual leader. We help you connect the dots across your organization and navigate the logistical and cultural challenges that often trip others up.
Additionally, we provide support services to help executives feel comfortable and confident in their public-facing role. Whether that’s developing a social media strategy to resonate with audiences or providing executive coaching and media training, we want to teach leaders how to deliver their message in the most meaningful and memorable way.
At IRI, we’ve given C-suite executives the tools and support they need to be true champions for their organizations. We believe every business is different, and each requires its own holistic and customized approach to communications. Whether you need an internal communications assessment, guidance in developing your internal communications strategy or social media strategy, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications consultants who can quickly provide a specialized solution. Contact us using the chat on the right to discuss the next steps, or give us a call at (313) 965-0350.