In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch teaches his daughter, Scout, that you never really understand someone until you’ve stood in their shoes and walked around in them.
That advice holds true for internal communicators.
Liam Fitzpatrick and Klavs Valskov, authors of “Internal Communications: A Manual for Practitioners,” advise that communicators must understand their audience to succeed:
Being able to reflect on how staff feel, what they might understand and how they might react to a message adds value to our advice and differentiates it from the guesswork and speculation of other senior people.
Internal communicators have a range of channels to seek out different viewpoints. Surveys, forums, focus groups, social networks and idea schemes can all be effective, but other tactics can provide more substantive personal insight and help you tap into a rich source of stories.
Here are five ways to step into the shoes of your audience: