I thought you said ’15’.
No, I clearly said ’50’.
When did this change? No one said anything about it in the meeting yesterday.
Harold said he was taking care of that.
No one read the email…. completely.
Since when do we have to fill out that form?
Can I go home now?
Seriously, is there anything more frustrating than finding out some key person didn’t get the memo (or… more likely… didn’t read it?)
Communication is your secret weapon (sshh don’t tell anyone!) Communication is your multi-purpose Swiss knife for instructing, motivating, correcting and ….simply sharing key information that constantly changes. Your critical mission is to get the right message to the right person at the right time.
And that person has to receive the message, or at least acknowledge receipt.
The first thing is, you need to recognize that information flows that work are like good commercial campaigns: the benefits are felt, the message is repeated through multiple channels. Seldom is anyone ADD, ADHD or OTL (Out to Lunch) getting the message the first time, unless you’re handing out juicy raises.
That’s where Don Draper comes in. The ad man. Effective flow of information is about the campaign, not the email, not the meeting, not the newsletter. And Don didn’t have to deal with a multilingual, multicultural workforce and global market. You do.
If you’d like to spend less time frustrated, or even be the hero, change the way you think about information flow and it will change.
3 Messaging tips from Don Draper:
1. Put a big goal or directive in your email signature.
Here’s one from real-life:
“Let’s work together to meet our strategic planning goal – to be in the top 25 among academic medical centers for reputation, quality, service, efficiency and financial performance by 2015 – and to continue excellence in our research and education missions”
That’s in each email from Dr. Etta Pisano, VP for Medical Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. I’ve never met her, but I know what her top priority is.
You have my permission to put something less lofty as your Big Hairy Goal, but this is a nice example.
2. Assign a sponsor to a message.
Yep. A new role. Sounds cool, message sponsor. Give that person some rope and you should get a nice message campaign. Your message sponsor can do things like make signs, tweet, write letters, start a blog, print t-shirts…. you might be surprised at the level of creativity.
Accountability in action.
3. “Make it simple, but significant.”
Yep, that’s a DD quote and yes I am aware that he’s a fictional character. But like all great fictional characters, we identify with this brilliant but deeply-flawed man.
Many times messages are lost because they confuse. This is especially true with emails. Just like the confused prospect never buys, seldom do employees act on confusing messages.
Put some time into editing down your emails. Put the benefit in the subject line. Keep it short and use plenty of white space.
Done. Now you’re it. What’s your best tip for information flows?