Three keys to getting your messages across during the COVID-19 pandemic
Is Zoom taking over your life? Are you spending more time in front of your computer screen than in front of your family?
As you slide into another month of talking to your staff, your peers, your stakeholders, your board on a screen—working from your home or working from your office while meeting with others who are working remotely—you may find yourself wondering…hoping there are other ways to communicate during this unpredictable time.
We have all learned by now that communicating effectively during this pandemic is critical for so many things, including:
> Keeping your senior leaders aligned with changes in strategy and direction
> Encouraging your employees to maintain some balance in work and home responsibilities
> Sharing shifts in working hours, environment, employee services
Three keys to getting your messages across:
1. Selecting the right communication channel
2. Tailoring your message for the channel
3. Creating appropriate style and tone
Understanding and using the various communication channels available to you can help you get your messages across to your “audiences” in ways that will resonate with them during this difficult time. People are managing multiple priorities during the pandemic, often juggling children, partners, and other family member schedules and responsibilities, while also carrying a full load in the workplace. There are a number of channels and platforms that leaders in the business and higher education sectors are using to maintain a consistent flow of communication during this challenging time, including:
- Old-fashioned telephone calls
- Microsoft Office 365 Teams video/audio meetings and IM for quick conversations
- Internal and external virtual town halls
- Social media
Matching your message with best practices can also help you get your message across to your audience. While there are character limits for many social media platforms, they are maximum lengths and not necessarily intended to be a guide for messages that get read.
Here are the most current best practices for content created for social media.
Facebook: 40 - 50 characters
Instagram: less than 125 characters
LinkedIn: 140 characters
Twitter: 71-100 characters
Videos: 30 - 60 seconds
Style & Tone
The tone of your message is as important as the content itself. As you draft messages that match the communication channel, be mindful to use a voice, style, and tone that are consistent with your company or institutional brand. For example, messages from your CEO or president to the board should carry a professional tone that represents the leader well. Messages from the senior leader to staff, for example, can carry a more caring tone, to show empathy for the difficult situations people are managing.