Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do a few things well

I've had no new work in for the last two days. Now, normally that would be a fairly usual state of affairs, but work has been non-stop since June, and it's actually nice to have time to lift my eyes from the screen now and again without the expectation of another phone call, meeting or even a vital email just around the corner.

Project juggling has been fun but tiring over the past few months, and has reinforced my underlying communication philosophy: whatever comms challenge you're faced with, the best response is to do a few things well.

In recent weeks, I've had requests around projects for new newsletters, blogs, websites, assemblies and even a picnic lunch. Most have been very well-meaning attempts to move an agenda forward, but most haven't been thought through. The emphasis has been on the event rather than on what it's trying to achieve.

So, in each case, I've gone back to the client with pretty similar advice:

  • Think audience
  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it focused
  • Use the comms tools that people already use; and
  • If you have to bring in a new tool, make sure it's one that your audience is happy to use.
  • The middle of a project is no time for grandstanding, and the most important communication isn't necessarily a knee-jerk response to those who shout loudest.
  • The communicator shouldn't be seen as the face of the communication - that has to come from the people who will bring whatever policy, change or advance to the business as their everyday role. As soon as we communicators are perceived as the 'voice', the message is already one step removed from the reality of the audience.
  • Whatever you do, make it easy to comply with the process - and ensure it delivers the right action for you. We don't communicate just to be heard.
  • Finally, don't do too much. Assess the outcome you want to achieve - and do a few things well to ensure you achieve it.

Funnily enough, the less can definitely be more message seems to have got through...perhaps that's why the phone hasn't rung today?

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