“What do you think will be the most difficult challenge for communicators in 2019?”
PR News recently posed this question to several respected communicators in major North American organizations. Many of their responses had a common theme: in a noisy environment of mistrust, getting our honest messages heard, and gaining the confidence of our audiences, will be the most difficult challenges.
Fortunately they also offered helpful advice, like the following, to address these challenges.
“reach across those barriers in representing our brands and organizations, and conduct ourselves with the highest degree of integrity, civility, and ethics” Rob Stoddard, SVP, Industry & Association Affairs – NCTA – The Internet & Television Association
“guide audiences to the evidence they need to make an informed decision” Chris Loder, VP, External Communications – Bayer Corp.
“if you can make decisions that align with such values as integrity and accountability, both as an organization and as leaders, then that’s half the battle.” Barbara Cosio Moreno, Executive Director, Communications & Outreach – San Diego Convention Center Corporation
“an unwavering commitment to integrity, transparency and authenticity from communicators” Anne Cowan, CCO – CTAM
People want to interact with individuals and organizations they respect and trust. So how can we communicate with integrity, transparency and authenticity to gain others’ confidence?
Here are some helpful guidelines.
- Aim to earn the respect and trust of our audiences
- Demonstrate (rather than talk about) trustworthiness
- Ensure the information we share comes from reliable sources
- Prioritize honesty and consistency in all communications
- No hidden agendas – communicate candidly and openly
- Show genuine understanding for the problems, needs and feelings of our audiences
- Be concerned about the potential impact on these audiences of what we communicate
- Do what we say we’ll do
- Admit mistakes when we make them
- Invite input and feedback; then listen and learn
When it comes right down to it, to get our messages heard and gain the confidence of our audiences, as Anne Cowan suggests, it takes consistently communicating with integrity, transparency and authenticity.
It’s the honest truth.