Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.


September 2008
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Archive for September 28th, 2008

Communication – The Serial E-mailer?

Last time I talked briefly about how often to communicate. Now let’s look at who we need to communicate with. My suggested answer is, “More people than you think but not everyone.” But wait, wouldn’t it be easier and safer to communicate with everyone? Hey, send out a broadcast e-mail to everyone in the agency or company and we’ve covered out butt. No one can claim they didn’t know.

Seems logical at first blush but let’s take a closer look. We’ve all been the victim of serial e-mailers. Our first reaction after reading their first e-mails and determining they are not essential to our success today is to immediately discount any future e-mails we receive from them. They’ve lost credibility and even if they say something that could be critical to us in the future we’re not likely to even read it. Or if they are presenting in person, we nod our heads but completely tune out the message. After all, they’ve never said anything of value before. Odds are this report won’t be any different. Right?

So what can we do to keep people informed but not suffer the fate of the serial e-mailer? Step one was mentioned in my last post…..determine who needs to know and then divide that audience into sub-groups and determine how often each group to receive communication. One size does NOT fit all.

Second, really review you message for substance and clarity. Stick to the facts and ideas that are essential and don’t dump the whole load. In today’s world it is easy to provide a link from your concise summary to the complete text for those who want that level of detail. 

And that means that, third, you need to write and re-write your message. And with each re-write it should become shorter, not longer. Too many people do a general word dump and expect the audience to sort it out. Folks, we live in a world that just doesn’t have time for that. If you don’t put the time in upfront to craft a precise message, and that means customizing it for each audience, then your attempts at communication will be wasted.