Good, effective communications need to be online don’t they?
Online is a popular option. But when it comes to business change it has one big disadvantage – the lack of a physical presence or immediacy.
Going offline seems to be a step backwards given the vast amount technology we have at our fingertips. Going online of course does have its advantages around speed, cost and being able to target thousands at once.
Online can be easy – sending an email, updating a website. But it needs some other sort of communication, particularly if from a programme or project.
Being able to communicate your messages face to face is priceless, particularly on a project. And, while the trusty newsletter or magazine is fast disappearing, there are still great offline options.
Posters, you say? Yes, the world still needs posters.
They afford you the opportunity to spread your brand, advertise what you are doing, and embed your key messages.
They also allow you to collect and organise data, then turn it into a visual, high impact chart or map which is easy to understand.
You create a good poster, and people will stop to read it. Trust me.
Events / Road shows
While the big ones can be costly, you can still do these on a shoe string, and it will be worth it. Your audience will hear the information they need direct from the person telling it, probably the project sponsor or business lead. This is invaluable. Getting employees together away from their desks automatically creates a buzz. They’ll be more inclined to actively listen and engage with the messages being shared. The best events invite participation and show that employee contribution is valued, listened to, and acted upon.
Briefings / Team meetings
Attending someone else’s team meeting shows dedication and commitment. You could just send the team an email, but they may ignore it. Devoting the time to go and present your messages to people shows them that you care and that you want to engage. You can also be there to answer questions, gather feedback, all of which might be essential for your project.
Your project team might want to create a communications hub to establish a physical presence in the office. While this may not work if your audience is widespread, it can give employees an opportunity to visit and find out the latest. It shows your audience that real physical effort is made to communicate with them.
Not always appropriate but a gimmick can raise the profile of your project. Whether a branded box of mints, stress ball or desk calendar, it will make your project stand out from the crowd.
Word of mouth
Saving the best until last, you just cannot beat the rumour mill. Whatever you say will never beat what is said at the water-cooler. By clambering onto the grapevine, you’ll be able to influence what your audience is saying about your project. Use ‘communication champions’ or target those more inclined to gossip – we all know who they are.
I hope this has given you some food for thought. And I’d love to hear from you about your communication challenges during business change.