Question: Everyone moans that they don’t hear about what’s going on in the company yet I send out regular emails, tell my staff in meetings and we have newsletters on the notice board. What else can I do? Rachel
Answer: Oh dear, it’s the “everyone” problem again. Communication breakdown is the classic chestnut in any organisation regardless of size.
You’re disheartened and frustrated which could well be reflected in your communication making people less inclined to listen, so reframe your approach. Think of it as a marketing exercise where individual items need to grab the attention of “the people who matter”.
What are you trying to sell and why, to whom and how? Identify the “people who matter” tell them once, tell them again, and then remind them. And use multiple delivery methods. Find out from the “moaners” how they best gather information, the where and the why, so when “everyone” needs to know something you’ll be able to adjust your delivery.
Revisit your emails. Are they so regular that people ignore them? Does the message header and opening sentence shout, “read me!” The same goes for the newsletters. If it doesn’t shout at you it’s likely it won’t shout at others. Keep them short with reference to detailed documents when needed.
Staff meetings can be deadly dull or a must be at event. Which is yours? One business I know keeps company news for its end of week social event knowing they’ll have an engaged, interested audience.
And don’t forget the gossip over the water cooler which is great for checking what messages are being heard.
As for those who still decide not to listen? Well, that’s another story for another column!
Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company. Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach. If you have a problem then contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.
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