The practice of organizational communication is all-important today. An organization must communicate effectively with its internal audiences or face real peril. Here are some of my thoughts (“Lesterisms”) on the subject of how to conduct effective organizational communication:
Lesterism #1: Never assume anyone knows anything. Organizations are funny; you can never assume that any individual organizational member knows what is going on — strategy, major issues facing the organization, organizational performance, organization happenings, news about other employees, etc. Therefore, look at everything that is happening around you and explain it to organizational members. You will have a lifetime of work. There is so much happening in organizations today that is worthy of being reported and discussed. Be alert. Be curious. Poke around and find out the details of what is going on. Report that to your internal audiences. You will find that what you are doing begins to feed on itself, and your stream of valuable information increases.
Lesterism #2: Know your audiences. You simply must conduct research into who your audiences are and what they are like. This transcends mere demographics and moves into psychographics. Know who you are talking with and what information they want, when they want it, and how they want to receive it.
Lesterism #3: Using a media mix is always better than a single medium. Do not concentrate on one medium to share a message. Instead, use a mix of media, including social media and traditional print and broadcast media. You need them all to effectively communicate a two-way message. A good channel strategy is a mixture of all types of media.
Lesterism # 4: Communicate frequently. This is where social media and electronic media are extremely valuable. Using those tactics, you can communicate easily and frequently. However, this does not preclude publications. For example, a more frequent and cheaper production value publication is always better than a more expensive, less frequent publication. If you can afford it, you could have a frequent newspaper-style employee publication plus a quarterly magazine. Each’s editorial objectives are unique and individually useful. But augment those with very frequent social media and electronic media updates, such as Tweets, blog posts, podcasts, and a supervisors’ ezine.
Lesterism #5: The cornerstone of an effective employee communication program is an employee publication. An employee publication should not be the only thing that makes up your employee communication program, but it remains the most effective tactic. Employees are an information-seeking audience. They want the information you provide them. Organizational communication has high persuasive impact among the other types of tactics, including interpersonal communication, news media, and advertising/promotion. And tops among the individual tactics that constitute organizational communication is the employee publication. Make it strategic and two-way, allowing for feedback and discussion.
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