Finding your voice

By Angela Bensemann, Director Halo Communications

Or as I like to say, what’s your style? When it comes to communicating with your customers or clients it’s important to adopt the right tone and to be consistent.

Back in the day, companies and organisations were often quite formal in their tone.  Particularly in the public sector where you wanted to avoid being seen as frivolous.

News flash: Your customers or audience want to deal with real people, they want to be able to relate to your product, your company or your organisation and they want great customer service.

We’ve come a long way from those days and with the advent of social media we can connect in a more informal manner instantly and around the world.

However, there are fishhooks for a company that gets it wrong. Despite the right intentions you can be just a mouse click away from hitting the wrong note.

Back in the day, if you made a mistake it was pretty much contained to the people it was intended for.  You got your butt kicked by your manager and you never did the same thing again.  These days it’s around the world in 30 seconds and everyone knows about it.

The conundrum is how to strike the right tone without coming across as insensitive, disrespectful and uncaring.  It’s a tightrope that we now traverse.

It comes back to the basic principle of knowing your audience.

The challenge is to be open, friendly and engaging without overstepping the mark.  It’s a bit like the parent trying to be cool in front of the child’s friends – it’s just not a good idea.

So, find a tone that fits for your audience and try it out.  If it works stick to it, if not, change it up or dial it down a notch and try again.

In companies with multiple people who deal with the public, media and use social media channels it’s a good idea to have a style guide to ensure a consistent approach.

And the golden rule – always run your external communications past someone else BEFORE you push go!