Communcation and Why You Might Not Have Realized My Misspelling

If you work for a company with more than 100, nay 50, nay two people you know that communication is hard. You probably also know that communication is important. You might even know that communication is valuable, shit, communication synergization and facilitation (did I just make up the sweetest B2B buzz-vertical ever?) companies are worth billions of dollars, check out what Slack is worth. What you might not realize is that tons of people are doing it wrong.

The issue: Just like this post we’re doing it with words. Written ones, boring ones, black on white background ones, ones that only matter to some people. And therein lies the problem, when we leave reading to the masses we run into a minefield of issues that can detract from our message, from it’s meaning and from it’s end goal. The reasons for this happening are easy to see, just think about your own email inbox and how you ingest the information within it. For the most part we all fall victim to the following:

  1. People don’t read. No way you’ve read ever email you’ve ever gotten. Definitely not the ones from that Nigerian Prince.
  2. People get distracted. Look at that cat over there on Tumblr!
  3. People don’t care about some messages. Filter that one directly to my promotions tab please.
  4. People are too busy. Life is full of totally inane bullshit you could be doing. And the internet is full 10x more totally inane bullshit you could be doing.
  5. People aren’t invested in what you have to say. Who are you anyway, how did you get my email address?
  6. People don’t totally understand your message. Can we please, please, please decide on a sarcasm font already.

So, what can you do to help you communications.

Steal from Advertising and Segment/Target your message — it needs to be important to me. Sad I know, but we’re all driven by our id, our ego, our superego, our superego’s id. This is how it works and if you can make the communication more specific to my needs and issues I’m more likely to ingest and understand the communication completely.

Find out what motivates each group in your organization. Communication that motivates Sales People will struggle to motivate Engineers, make sure you tailor specific examples to each groups goals, use language or analogies that relate to each groups culture, and enable leaders within the group to help disseminate your messaging.

Create a culture that hungers for knowledge, hire people who ask why and want to discover. Foster and reward people who learn the most, who invest time in understanding and listening. These people are important to moving the company forward, they help in meetings, clarify points to clients and bring the companies knowledge base forward.

Use gifs and emoticons. I know these may seem silly or are potentially looked down upon in some business settings but gifs and emoticons get across the things that written words severely lack, emotions. Think of them as a replacement for facial expressions, timely pauses and other helpful sarcastic tones you would normally use in conversation.

Be ok with the fact that some people wont follow the rules and address it only if they are causing issues. Just as parents just don’t understand, some people just don’t listen. This ad hoc method some times works for people, they use other channels and resources to discover and learn. Forcing them out of this doesn’t work and will make them more likely to shut everything out.

And lastly, don’t talk down to people or scold them for the actions of one, use it as a learning experience for all. Tell them the problem and ask them to be aware of this and explain the repercussions. No one wants to get in trouble because one idiot was chewing gum in class.

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