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  • Writer's pictureJim M. Morgan

Executive Communications: To Inform and Entertain



As a professional communicator, I have, on occasion, been asked by colleagues if I have a “communications philosophy.” In other words, do I have a consistent approach to my work, a lens through which I always view the task at hand? I do. All communications must inform, must make the audience smarter or more knowledgeable. And with the exception of crisis communications – its own specialty – communications should also be in some way entertaining in order the hold the audience’s attention. Here’s a quick look at how to make executive communications both informative and entertaining.

 

Informative

 

At their core, executive communications must convey something of importance to the audience. If you are an executive communicator – or someone crafting communications on behalf of an executive – ask yourself the following: “What is the primary message to be communicated?” In other words, what one thing must your audience understand? Force yourself to sum it up in a simple declarative sentence. If you can’t get it down to one sentence, you may not have enough clarity on the issue, and if you are not clear, the audience won’t be, either.

 

Once you have that single informative sentence, back it up with three to four supporting statements. Think of these as justifications for what you are communicating. If your message were being heard in a court of law, these justifications would be your exhibited evidence. Here’s an example of a declarative sentence followed by supporting statements:

 

“I’m announcing today that Morgan Analytics is merging with Myers Industries. For more than a decade, Myers Industries has demonstrated its commitment to responsible growth within our industry. By combining our resources with theirs, we will expand both market share and customer service capabilities. As a result, we will soon be the industry leader we have long sought to be…”

 

Entertaining

 

Though communications must be informative, that alone is not enough to ensure audience engagement. We’ve all been subjected to speeches, for example, that were full of information but dry as hell. Once you know what you want to communicate, think about how you can bring that information to life through the use of humor, personal anecdotes, clever turns of phrase, or other devices. Here’s some additional content that could help make the declarative information above more appealing and memorable:

 

“…Now I know what you are thinking: the folks over at Myers are the competition. What you might not know is that I attended college with Frank Myers. We were in the same chemistry classes, with a Professor named Jenkins who always smelled of pickles. A sharper mind I’ve never met – Myers, that is. You are going to love him. Funny…He always said we’d work together one day. It seems that day has finally arrived.”

 

Through the addition of personal anecdotes – college classmates, personal respect, shared ambitions – what at first glance might have seemed like a one-dimensional corporate merger actually becomes a three-dimensional reunion of old friends. And that makes it both memorable and appealing for the audience.

 

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