Authentic Communications in 2023: not everything has to be perfect
Whilst Covid-19 was a very challenging period, the systems that we put in place enabled us to bridge the gap between the personal and the professional whilst working remotely. We were re-introduced to our colleagues and began knowing them as a mother, father, pet-lover, yoga guru, teacher or chef.
Meetings were interrupted by school questions or pets wanting attention and most of our colleagues battled to keep up with the many required roles necessary throughout those lockdown days. Essentially, we got to meet the real, genuine people behind the work, and the idea of being yourself was applauded. Despite the days of the lockdown being behind us (hopefully), this new, more casual and well-being-centered, way of working has entrenched itself into many industries and organizations.
A new year brings the opportunity for experimentation, taking risks and pushing the boundaries. However, now a month in to 2023, I wanted to use this opportunity instead, to focus on two valuable lessons we learnt about authentic communications in Covid-19. A lesson that has revolutionized leadership communications and employee engagement…
- You shouldn’t aim for perfection
- You should trust your gut
Gone are the days when leaders were thought of as being ‘superheroes’, instead Covid-19 has given them the chance to be themselves, allowing their colleagues and employees to get to know them on a deeper level. As communicators, this year we need to encourage our leaders and colleagues to be themselves. We all need to tailor communications to fit different personalities rather than trying to force fit them into a communication box. In 2023, the trends we should be seeing and encouraging should be down-to-earth, genuine, honest, and diverse communications.
The balance between professional and fake
Corporate and internal communications can often be perceived as having a particular status, its reputation is based on well-formatted, structured and impersonal content filled with corporate cliches and unnecessary jargon. Obviously, there is a balance to be struck, as communications must naturally maintain a level of professionalism, however, we must be cautious of communications becoming ‘fake’ and ‘forced’ when this is not necessary.
The Covid-19 working environment has encouraged us as communicators to harness the power of our own technology, so why stop? Additionally, as we get to know our leaders’ personalities, employees can tell when workplace posts and emails aren’t coming from them. If we really want leaders to connect with their workforce in order to inspire them, we need to encourage our leaders to take the time to write their own messages and not rely on communicators for every post.
Trust yourself more than your script
In a similar vein, one of the reasons that TED talks are usually so powerful and engaging is that speakers are invited to follow the 10 TED commandments.
#9 Thou shalt not read thy speech.
“Probably the worst of all public speaking sins is the temptation to disappear into your notes and read, as opposed to speak, to your audience. If they wanted to be read to, you could’ve just sent them an email with your speech content.”
This commandment is not only relevant to TED talks, public events, or your organisation’s regular Townhalls, this commandment is also applicable for ALL communications. Finding those “perfect words” is largely wasted time, even if it brings comfort or pride to the speaker. As Joel Schwartzberg contended in his article in the Harvard Business Review “Stop Scripting your Speeches” …trust yourself more than your script
The lessons we learnt during Covid-19 does not mean a communicator’s role is now moot. Even if we are no longer required to write scripts and every email for leaders and people in the organisation, we still need to ensure that our communication remains effective and empathetic. So, in 2023 my aims will be…
- To stop trying to aim for perfection
- Encourage people to be themselves
- Tailor communications to fit people’s personalities
- Empower leaders and colleagues to trust their gut and their messages
Written by Lauren, our Account Manager