Communicating With Those Who Serve and Protect
As Veterans' Day approaches, we start thinking about giving thanks (and not just because it's only two weeks until Turkey Day). We have also been thinking, as we always do in our industry, about communication. We decided to research some tips for communicating with veterans in our families and communities as well as those military personnel who are actively serving. Not only does this help us engage meaningfully with those who have sacrificed so much, some of what we learned is -- we hope -- useful for veterans and troops alike. And in all cases: communication is key.
If you're wondering how best to communicate with veterans in your own life, whether you've known them for years or are just meeting them, here are some general tips, although it's important, of course, to remember that all veterans are unique.
Do ask Veterans about what their military service means to them.
Do ask if they feel comfortable answering your questions.
Do encourage them to share what they are currently doing or what their goals are.
Do show that you are glad to have someone with their skills and experience in your community.
Do mention personal or a family member’s military service.
Do not assume because a Veteran you know loves to talk about her time in the Army that all Veterans will want to talk about their time in a combat zone.
Do not ask them about PTSD or other injuries.
Do not make it all about you.
When thinking about interactions with those currently serving, old school letters and packages mean a lot. According to military.com, service men and women say that receiving mail is a huge morale booster than reminds them their loved ones -- and sometimes civilians they have never even met -- are thinking of them. Other tips include being available by phone at hours that may seem odd to you, demonstrating patience when your loved ones don't feel like talking, and trying to keep the conversation light and pleasant. For those who are in the military, there are some guidelines that have proven helpful when communicating via social media, which can be overwhelming even to those of us safely stateside!
Sending love to those who protect us
Tips for Communicating Through Social Media on Deployment
1. Reach out to military support organizations on or near your base for information on social events, pre- and post-deployment briefs, unit and DoD updates, and special offerings. Check with your family readiness officer (FRO) or family readiness group (FRG) to ensure you are accessing the appropriate pages or websites.
2. Stay in touch with close family and friends and keep them updated on how well you are handling the deployment. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn!
3. Review your privacy settings and stay aware of your personal online security.
4. Think twice before you post or tweet about your personal life or your relationships.
5. Take advantage of social media platforms if you are looking for a new job. Sites like LinkedIn, BranchOut, and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership are ideal resources whether you are launching a new career, improving the one you have, or looking to network for a future position.
6. Stay physically and mentally healthy.Turn off the electronics and take a walk or head to the gym at least a couple of times each week.
The above tips come from the digital resource "Everyone Serves," which is available free (and with additional media content) at everyoneservesbook.com.
While communication with active service personnel takes place remotely, interactions with veterans are more often to occur face-to-face, which is why the tips about what (and what not) to do can be a useful guideline. In addition to thanking veterans in person, there are several ways you can contribute to organizations designed for them, such as the Wounded Warriors Project. Even if you don't donate directly to these organizations, you can choose to work with a company who does support them. KATT Communications is a proud of our partnership with Clear Path For Veterans New England, which you can learn more about here.