If email or handbooks were your response- you aren’t alone. In a recent presentation I co-hosted on “Making Internal Communication a Culture Must-Have”, 99% of the respondents used email and handbooks as a primary tool for communicating internally.
While many firms are communicating, there is still a big gap. In a recent study by the CPA Consultants Alliance on Leadership, they found Communication to be one of the top 3 missing characteristics identified by respondents.
So what gives?
Communication itself is a process, not an event. It must be reinforced and delivered in multiple ways to really get absorbed. Most people retain very little of what they hear, only a little more of what they see, and slightly more of what they see, hear, and do. Human nature gets in the way.
Cutting through the clutter and getting a message absorbed requires more than just an email or document. Here are 4 ways to get your message heard.
Use different channels of communication.
You mean don’t email? That is exactly what I am saying. Video is becoming a great alternative to text based emails. Most people today are consumed with email, which means they tend to tune out based on shear quantity. Using video is a great way to grab attention and communicate a key message.
Not everything is appropriate to send through the same channels. Some messages are better communicated live and others through quick one-on-one conversations. Instant messaging, desktop alerts, and private enterprise social networks provide nice alternative for communicating on a day to day basis.
Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce.
Once is never enough. Messages should come through multiple channels and be reinforced constantly. Let’s say you want to roll out your firm’s strategic plan. Consider a video message from your managing partner, a follow-up e-magazine outlining your vision, and a town hall meeting to answer questions. Furthermore, consider empowering your front line managers to field questions and help their staff understand how they fit into the firm strategic plan.
Return to Face to Face.
While many firms have staff meetings, most are inconsistent and one sided. Meetings should engage, which requires a dialog. Staff meetings should involve more of a town hall format that allows and encourages participants to ask questions and become involved rather than just “spoken” to.
What unique things have you done to communicate internally?