Executives might consider Twitter as their new executive communication coach. Don't scoff. It can be a highly effective teacher of powerful communication strategies. And cost-effective!
Best of all, you don't have to actually post on Twitter to become a better communicator. Just reading good tweets can teach business leaders impressive ways to package their communication. Hmmm. Am I putting myself out of a job?
A Time and Place for Twitter-Speak
Twitter's character limit is obviously not the best choice for all types of executive communication. For example, creating your vision or mission statement or designing a new sales strategy dictates more than 140 characters. But in terms of communicating those ideas, well, you can't beat lessons from the world of Twitter.
Here are five best practices Twitter can teach CXOs about communicating verbally as well as when writing.
Communication Lessons from Twitter
1. Net it out. The 140 character-limit forces us to think in terms of a main point. Make it, edit non-essential details, and move on.
2. Offer value-rich content. Have something worthwhile to say. If you're not informing, inspiring or motivating your troops, hold off on communicating.
3. Be conversational. No one likes to read or hear a business leader droning on in corporate speak. Talk like a real human being and have a compelling conversation.
4. Use precise words. Twitter forces us to rethink the power of words and phrases and chose a precise vocabulary. "Align our company strategy to customer priorities." UGH! How about, "Think like the customer."
5. Listen to your audience. It's not always about what you want to say. Think about what your audience needs to hear.
6. Don't tweet people to death! That might mean cutting back on the amount of your corporate communications. Keep the channels of communication open, but don't overload.
Practice Makes Perfect
Learning to communicate in a succinct and powerful way takes practice. Start with your emails, move on to voice mail, then your blog, and once you feel comfortable, roll-out Twitter-speak into your meetings and presentations. Concise CXO-speak makes for happier employees!
P.S. All the sentences in this post are under 140 characters!