Do you call, email, text, instant message, direct message?
Fax, post a letter, or go really old school and have a face to face chat?
What are the various lines of communication in your organisation and when is it appropriate to use them?
Our office has four generations – Baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and a Millennial for good measure. Think about how communication has evolved for each of these groups.
The Boomers thought faxes revolutionised the business world, then they got emails. The Millennial can construct a life story in 140 characters or less, and has never seen a fax machine let alone used one.
Consider how this impacts communication in the workplace.
Not only are there multiple channels, there are different views on what is appropriate for each.
Is it OK to text in sick? In our team yes. At previous places I have worked, no.
Should you email a client versus calling? My preference would always be a call but in today’s age of keyboard warriors, not everyone is so comfortable doing so.
Can you send company notes over instant messaging? For me it depends on the note. Informal messages or shout outs I would say yes, formal documents I would say no.
What is the place of face to face meetings? This could be, and has been by others, a whole post in itself. In our time poor days, face to face meetings can seem like an inconvenience but I believe are a necessary component to building team engagement.
And herein lies the challenge – so many channels, so many messages, so many users.
The key is getting your organisation to:
- a) agree on what channels should be used for what purposes, and then
- b) adhering to it.
Much easier said than done.
I am the first to put my hand up and say it is a work in progress for us. Even though we are a small team, with multiple channels for communication sometimes things get missed.
My default is for face to face communication where possible. I prefer to see my team when I am communicating with them. The circumstances may not always allow for it but I believe our relationship is stronger for a greater level of face to face interaction.
So in the day and age of multiple channels for multiple messages, how do you “talk” to your team?