Whether you communicate with an audience or your associates in your organization, being in service of the people you communicate with is an essential aspect of effective communication.
Serve Your Audience
People will read your content if it helps them, makes them feel and experience something, and when it leaves a residue. You will rarely achieve that if your content is about you.
Write about the things your audience cares about. Write about the things your audience tries to accomplish. Write about the things that will take your audience to a new level of understanding.
Write for your audience and not for your benefit. When you serve your audience, they will come back for more. And that’s how relationships are formed.
Serve the People You Communicate With
One of my first pieces of advice in workplace communication is to define your mission before communicating. But focusing solely on your mission and ignoring what your colleagues and peers are trying to achieve will not take you very far.
When you initiate an interaction, you must balance your mission with the missions of your associates. And the best way to do that is to set your mission aside for a while. Think of what your associates are trying to achieve and how you can help them achieve it.
When your mission comes second, harnessing others to help promote it is easier.
Serve the People Communicating with You
And the same applies when others initiate a communication flow with you. It is easy to think of it as “just another interference in what I really try to do.” But chances are, someone really needs your help promoting their goals at the other end of the interaction.
If the interaction’s goal is unclear, ask to clarify it or try to find out more information. If it is clear, see how you can help your colleagues achieve their goals, even if you don’t see how it promotes your goal directly. It doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your mission — just broaden the scope and consider the objectives of your associates too.