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Communications, Rants

I don’t deserve your attention

Everything is so important. We wouldn’t go through all the hurdles and approval gates to publish front page news, employee communiqués, and share updates with the communities unless we believed in the value of our communication work.

Tug o' warEverything is not so important. People survive missing news. People survive holidays away from the intranet and company channels. People catch up on their emails in half a day and get on with their work.

We don’t deserve the attention of our colleagues any more than our website / company website deserves its audiences. We can earn attention and develop trust though.

We have to offer content of value; we have to be accessible, relevant, useful, timely, rich, and actionable. The key word is relevant.

Those department heads and managers who claim that their latest internal change needs to be communicated to ‘everyone’ because it’s a ‘Company matter’ are delusional. Minor departmental changes are rarely relevant to every member of staff. Process changes are rarely relevant to every employee.

The change to the expense process is potentially relevant to every employee, but it isn’t actually, because not every employee is currently claiming expenses. Communicate the expenses change to those who have claimed in the last three months. Mention the change within the expense system – at the point of need. That’s all that is required.

To understand relevancy, communicators have to empathise with audience members and realise they are asking ‘what’s in it for me?’ every time they scan-read a title or paragraph.

Nobody’s logging on to the mobile intranet at 7:15am eager to see that a policy has been updated.

Whatever good we did yesterday, as communicators, we have to build on our credibility every day. We have to earn it every day.

[ Wedge ]

Photo credit: e5jay

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About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

6 thoughts on “I don’t deserve your attention

  • I enjoyed that Wedge, you should let off steam more often! Great points about targeting actives and communicating at the point of need.

  • Totally agree, as I often do. There is an element of need for putting out some ‘corporate news’ and making it available for those who want to know it (I like the image) – but it is up to us as communicators to make sure it is in the right place and does not take over every communication channel, drowning the important information and reducing trust and respect in the channels.

    It is amazing the number of people who do not see this.

    Very appropriate under the heading of ‘rants’

  • Hello Glen, thanks for adding to my thoughts and the discussion. Yes, that’s it; lazy ‘broadcast publishing’ damages the credibility of the comms team / person, the intranet and even the company.

    I’m thinking of retiring a few of my idiosyncratic categories, but if you like my ‘rant’ category, I’ll have a think. Cheers.

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