Organisations and businesses are slow to adopt proven technology to communicate and share information with staff… in fact managers are typically appalling at communicating with staff and remote teams per se. Shunning team developed posters for bland intranet posts, stiffling informal communication for company magazines; generally communications is managed as a one-sided push (messaging down) and pull (reports up) relationship, with no feedback loops or genuine involvement of employees.
As communication skills have become more important, powerpoint has become the standard presentation tool, enabling complex messages to be simplified and presented to everyone easily… sadly it is all too easy to use… (see powerpoint is evil) leaving presentations dull, uninspiring and text based. Who hasn’t walked out or slept through a meeting where the presenter merely read summarised text, when key facts could be assimilated in a fraction of the time?
Management should embrace new innovative communication tools, from white boards in coffee areas and personal space on an intranet to podcasts. Audio and webcam funcitonality is so user friendly that IT could enable team members to prepare podcasts on critical issues, staff benefits, training courses, exiting news and simply things that interest them… combine slides (photo’s, diagrammes, graphics) with audio. Even better these can be mixed with specialist podcasts freely available on the internet. Why should an organisation’s newsletter not also be a weekly podcast?
Development and humanitarian workers pioneered participatory approaches to communication that have become standard in businesses these days. We are all aware how information should be presented and shared in a form that is accessible and appropriate to the target audience, perhaps it is time to revolutionise communication in and between our offices. Communication is from the French ‘communicare’ to share, we cannot share by continueing to push uninteresting information in an increasingly inaccessible format.
Maybe that next uninspiring brief will come from a colleague making a podcast on his lap top … on the bright side at least no paper has been wasted and I can still write an email at the same time!