As a professional (or ‘responsible’) communicator, I’m certain you understand the value of your intranet, your Town Halls (meetings), your plasma screen presentations, your Team Meetings and all the variety of direct, indirect, two-way and feedback channels that help keep your company focused.
Perhaps, like me, you grow weary of the reliance of Managers on mass email. A Manager makes a very logical assumption, which is “emails get directly in front of people, and so emails are the best way to tell people something“. It’s a logical, but flawed, way of thinking.
We all know how quickly we go through our inbox, and how quickly we scan read the opening paragraphs before hitting delete – just to help clear our over-flowing screen. Managers often complain that they feel overloaded by the number of emails ‘higher management’ send ‘down’ to them, yet when they decide they need to communicate to half the company, they feel they want to send a mass email!
Please can I beg all Managers at all levels to discuss their communication objectives with someone within the Internal Communications team, so that the right channel can be found for the audience. If you’re a Manager at any level, your work and your visibility within the company may well quadruple if you have a good relationship with the Internal Comms people. Think what that might do for the business, your team and your career.
The thing is, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use mass emails. I mentioned some Mass Email Best Practices that garnered some attention and comments (please join in).
What I am saying is that we should make best use of all our channels, and craft a blended approach to broadcast communications.
As I always say, if you want people to know something, tell them five times and use several different channels.
An email, targeted to the specific audience (perhaps ‘the field force’ or ‘front-line staff’) is a great way to back-up the communications on your intranet and in your regular Team Meetings. The email can be briefer (really really concise) with a link to the intranet article for more details and downloads.
A blended approach has more impact and effect. It adds value to the core message and helps different people from different, diverse, areas of the business receive and engage with the message. Remember, communications doesn’t just ‘happen’ when you press ‘send’.
P.S. I’m also reminding myself how important every email I send is, no not a mass email, I mean the everyday emails I send to my colleagues. As a professional (or responsible) communicator, I shouldn’t be brusque or unclear should I? I should demonstrate my commitment to great comms in every mail I send.
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