Are you talking over the heads of your audience? It’s easy to do without realizing it.

One of the benefits of being a business management consultant is getting out in the world every day and meeting people from various types of companies and industries.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a working session with the Board of a trade association in New England.  The goal of the session was to educate the group on how to use social media business tools and social media marketing and then evaluate the best way to use them in the organization and each company.  The session was a good learning experience for the participants and a reminder of basics that are easy to overlook.

If you want to NAIL your message and make sure you’re not losing your audience, here are some things to consider:

1. Everyone starts at their own place and moves at their own pace

The most difficult part about working with a large group is that everyone starts at a different place, and tends to move along at their own pace. It’s important to be mindful of this – and when someone doesn’t get it, stop and reinforce the concept.

2. New things can be intimidating

While we were talking about technology and how to include it in business, one participant claimed that “when the fax machine came, that should have been it”. Ok, so not everyone is an early adopter. Remember the first cell phones?

 3. Change can be empowering

Some of the biggest challenges come from the ability to execute and provide real solutions to business problems using social media business tools. By the end of our time together, the creative juices in the group were flowing, and the room was buzzing with ideas.

4. If you don’t use it, you may lose it

We see this one a lot when we’re helping companies with solutions to business problems: we work with them to develop a process or to acquire new skills in the company. Unless the process is used consistently, it won’t “stick” in the company. The same goes for developing new skills. Make it a habit to take care of your online presence every day. When you continue to use these tools again and again, they’ll become part of your routine.

5. If you build it, will they come?

When you talk about introducing new ways of doing things, you inevitably make some folks uncomfortable. When we talk about “starting conversations” and “building relationships” with employees, suppliers, or prospects  … well, that can be a bit uncomfortable for some. The real point here is this: if you create a way for your customers, employees and suppliers to communicate with you, be ready to enter into the discussion.

 6. There’s safety in numbers

Forming partnerships is critical in today’s marketplace. Whether you’re outsourcing general tasks in your business, or looking for new ways to reach customers and market your products, don’t forget that there are others who are in the same boat. Find them, and look for ways to collaborate and share information with them.

 7. Value is in the eye of the beholder

Let’s say you’re trying to get your arms around a specific issue – like moving a distribution center, or consolidating a product line. The amount of energy, time and money that you want to put into solving the issue depends on how valuable the outcome can be. Keep in mind that what might be worthwhile and valuable to some may not be to all.

 8. You never know how people are going to react

The mental attitude of your audience will affect their reaction. And don’t forget: your business attitude is a choice.

Do you find that learning new things is intimidating? What’s been your experience with these? I’d love to hear your thoughts.