How does your board get information out?
Common ways to communicate include meetings, emails, paid advertisements, news releases or posts on your organization’s website.
When you make the effort to communicate, have you ever found there were some people who don’t receive the information? They may say they didn’t hear about it, or even worse, they may have heard about it, but not in the way your group intended.
This requires board members to spend more time with explanations for those who weren’t aware or who received misinformation.
You felt you did your part by sending out the information. But how can you guarantee your members will hear what you want to communicate?
Here are seven ways to get your message noticed and read:
- Keep messages short and simple. Don't send long, rambling emails or post notices that try to explain every nuance. Start with a few points that capture your message and refer readers to further details (a longer document for example) where they can learn more. The shorter and simpler the message, the better the chance it will be read.
- Have a heading that summarizes your most important message. Don’t use a generic heading like “Policy Change” when you can attract attention about the change. This goes for the Subject line in an email, or heading on your web post or bulletin board notice.
- Use multiple channels. Send a broadcast email with website link, post on the website, and communicate at your meetings. Social media can really help here for your members who are on Facebook or Twitter.
- Combine electronic information channels with face-to-face communications. Whether it’s during a meeting, staffing a table at an event, or talking to people you meet as you go about your business in the community – face to face communications are often the most effective.
- Be consistent with your message channels. If your members are used to getting a Tweet, Facebook notice, or email to receive information, use the channels they know.
- Use influencers. Who are your members who always have an opinion or comment and like to share what they know? Focus on ensuring they understand, and ask for their help in getting the word out.
- For substantial changes or other important new information consider developing a communications strategy that includes using your local media and a social media strategy. A news article in your local community media provides something for people to talk about, while social media provide a platform for the conversation to help spread your message. Consider all the angles, however – including ways your message may be interpreted. That’s where a communications strategy will help.