THE ART AND SCIENCE OF COMMUNICATION
(Don't forget the science!)
Over communicating is a good approach in the current environment. However……...good intent and quantity can impact the value and quality of the messages and support you’re delivering.
Leaders know their teams (and themselves) are navigating unprecedented times. They care and want to help - communicate, communicate, communicate.
In a nod of recognition to the neuroscientists it’s worth recognizing that we consume content differently. Our Reading Brain is changing as the digital age subtly, and rapidly, reshapes the reading circuits in our brains.
Research shows that when people process information quickly and in short bursts, as is common today, they restrict the engagement of the “contemplative dimension” of the brain that provides the capacity to form ‘insight’ and ‘reflection.’
We’re drawing heavily on these two attributes at the moment.
We’ve found keeping THREE thoughts in mind helpful when designing and delivering communication and engagement programs:
1. Focus on key themes/messages. Align on your priorities from employee support to business momentum and anchor to them. You can’t help everyone with everything at once. What are your most important ‘why’ & ‘how’ factors.
2. Marry the message to the medium. We’re adopting new tools and platforms to operate and to connect to an audience with changing dynamics. The Know – Feel – Do framework is a trusted model for framing communication while considering the approach that best delivers the message. Some messages everyone needs to hear accurately, at once, while others can be more elective in terms of receipt and response.
3. Energise the leaders. We’ve found leaders committed to support but sometimes lacking a little confidence in bringing messages to life and sustaining conversation. Little nudges, sharing questions to ask and timed reminders that can trigger an action help busy leaders to keep sharing and engaging around key themes, encouraging reflection and action through all levels of the org.
The HR community is doing a phenomenal job supporting employees & leaders through this extraordinary period. For those thinking about a sustainable communication & engagement approach for the months ahead it’s worth getting a good balance of the science & art; particularly with so much tech & static content within easy reach.
And for anyone interested in a little more of the science I found some fascinating insights by Professor Maryanne Wolfe; a scholar on literacy in a digital world. www.maryannewolf.com
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