Ask the Experts: What can the U.S. Ebola outbreak teach us about effective communication?

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ANSWER:

That question's sure to be debated in the classrooms of America's greatest universities for years to come. What we know now is the core of impactful communication with everything from a virus to a video marketing campaign–is your audience.

It seems simple enough.  Effective communication always considers the audience–its priorities and emotions–first.  Yet how many times do we plan a company event, a training course, or a social media initiative by first deciding what to say–instead of considering to whom we'll say it?

This is the weak link in Ebola communication so far–too little acknowledgement of audiences' fear, frustration, and confusion.  By calling out these concerns and feelings at the beginning of their communications, authorities can begin to restore credibility.

And they can finally make their messages "stick."  Research proves the only effective "bait" when "fishing" for audience buy-in and long-term message retention is to meet them where they are–every time.

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