Communication in 2021 is more complex and multifaceted than any other time within the past 40 years, despite having an ever-increasing number of communication platforms available to us that are supposed to make communication easier.
Within the workplace, as well as the mushrooming number of emails, there are messages through Teams, SharePoint, and other apps we now have to respond to, and this is just internal communication. There is also communicating with our clients, shareholders, broader community, and in the not-for-profit sector funders and government departments. It can feel like we are caught in a hurricane of communication noise except there is no silent eye in this hurricane just the continual stream of pings as messages demanding a response.
In the busyness of conducting a business, be it for profit or not-for-profit, pausing to reflect on how to communicate clearly to cut through the confusion of multiple communications is not something we often do. We fall back on our assumptions, our biases and then wonder why our communications lack clarity in cutting through the noise. Instead of clear communications, our messaging may actually lead to further misunderstandings amongst our clients.
We forget because our clients are often using the same communication platforms we are using they are able to voice their anger, frustration, and annoyance at our miscommunication instantly. We end up putting out proverbial fires as we try to clear up the miscommunication and client backlash.
So how can we bring clarity to our communications?
It is a known but often forgotten fact we need to communicate a message more times than we think we need to communicate it. People often need to hear something at least seven times before they begin to register it. Most organisations embarking on change either internal change or change to client services, communicate about the changes one or two times, and then are surprised when staff or clients react badly to the changes. Most change programs fail or are resisted because they have not been communicated enough. Any change to client services or for staff should have a clear communication strategy as well as a clear risk strategy and the communication strategy needs to be implemented well in advance of any other strategy or change. Tonic Digital can assist management in determining new and appropriate avenues that will improve and increase the reach of communication.
When you think you have communicated sufficiently, that is the time to double the number of times you have already communicated. It is important when communicating to simplify the communication.
Again, this is an area where management often fails. Management becomes caught up in the planning, in the strategizing and so communicates at a level that does not engage either the client or the staff member because it does not speak to their concerns. When the financial forecasts and the strategic implications have been thought through and the risk assessments have been completed, you then need to take the information and distil it down into 3 or 4 main points that a young child would understand. When you have distilled the main points down to that simplicity you then have the clarity to cut through the confusion and the static of other messaging.