There are somethings in life we just accept although we know they are wrong. Like fruitcake during the Christmas holiday. No one really eats it, yet it is still given as a gift. Like a stop sign on a deserted road at 2am. Did you really make a full and complete stop?
And corporate communications – they really aren’t communicating. Rather, they are informing. Communication takes two parties and an exchange of information and an acknowledgement that the message was received and understood. Formal communications within organizations are anything but communications. Rather, they inform. They send out emails. Put up posters. Maybe a sign in the cafeteria or lunch room. These are examples of one-way communication – wait, can there be such a thing or is it an oxymoron? One-way communication is informing.
But we really can’t change the name to “Corporate Informing,” can we?
So how do we have true communication within an organization? How do we make sure people understand? I have heard executives lament the fact that their latest project is not being understood. “It is all over the place. Emails, posters, table tents, small signs in the restrooms. How can they miss it?!”
So how do we resolve this? Here is a suggestion. Whenever we talk about communicating to our employees, replace the word “communicate” with “converse.” This changes everything – it also brings up some more challenges. Some are real (like needing the resources) and some are only imagined (being fearful of discussing sensitive topics). Suddenly, “Communication” takes on a whole new meaning.
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