It happens to all of us. We draft an important message and broadcast it to the world to only find out that the world “did not get it”.

The email was misunderstood; the news announcement jumped to second page too fast; the videoconference connection got interrupted; the meeting was too long, people got distracted and missed the critical info right at the end. Effective communication is demanding. It is influenced by organisational factors such as the workplace culture and norms, the level of communication skills of senders and recipients, the engagement of employees, to name a few.

But there are also elements within our control that can help us communicate more effectively. Choosing the right means or channel for communication is one. Here we share with you some tips and resources on this topic. Deciding on ‘how’ you are going to communicate entails first reflecting on your communication objectives, audience and content.

Think about your communication objective

Why are you communicating? Are you providing general information, sharing knowledge or asking for a decision? Is your objective ambitious and you are attempting to change behaviours?

Know your target audience

Knowing your stakeholders includes understanding their communication needs and preferences. How do they like to stay informed? Will they have questions? How would they prefer to give feedback?

Consider your content

Sensitive or conflictual information is best given in person (even if there is a written follow-up). On the other hand, if your content is more informal, for example, if you are sharing useful resources, you can use social media, which will allow you to label and store the content properly.

Know the strengths and weaknesses of each communication channel

We easily fall into habits and start to rely too much on a single communication channel (I think email is abused nowadays). It is important to consider the most efficient and effective channel for each message. Getting acquainted and comfortable with using different channels is a priority.