How well are we communicating what we do to our stakeholders, C-level types and faculty? Do we need to change the tone, tenor or content of the message?
First the obvious: Identify who the stakeholders, C-level types, and faculty are. This has generally been easy as these people for the most part have worked in the same building as the rest of us. Technology adds another factor in that it takes away the boundaries of where these stakeholders are. As an example, if a faculty member has an overdue library item, the first step is to send an e-mail reminding them that they have them item and to please renew or return it. If they failed to acknowledge the e-mail it the next step was to meet them at their office. Now that the physical constraints of an “office” have been torn down with mobile technology, it is increasingly more difficult to obtain face time. By having less face time it becomes easier for e-mails and other e-communications to be “ignored” whether inadvertent or not. The tone, tenor, or content of our message may be fine, but making sure the stakeholders see, hear, and acknowledge the message is what needs to be addressed.
There is a practice going around that if you have a complaint or issue you should also present a solution to that complaint or issue. There is also a trend going on of people wanting there news and information in small, scannable, easily digestable pieces. This is currently known as microblogging which is done thorugh applications like Twitter. If the practice of microblogging and issue/solution presentation are combined it may look something like this:
Issue: building on fire. Sol: Throw water on it. Please advise by 5pm. Wife says don’t forget the milk.
This would get the message to the stakeholder, allow them to spend a moment reading it, and then agree or disagree with the solution of a competent employee. It’s almost like going back to the old telegraph except more expedient.
Overall it is not that there is a problem with the message content it is getting the message to the stakeholders and receiving a usable acknowledgement.
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