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The Power of Effective Communication in the Workplace
(and our Founding Fathers’ unrivaled Tweeting abilities)


By Jim Hartigan
July 2, 2010

It’s no great secret that the founders of our glorious nation were crackerjack communicators.  Master orators and writers, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, et al, communicated with a clarity and grace our country has scarcely seen since.  I mean, come on:
 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
 
It doesn’t get much more eloquent than that!  However, here’s something you might not have known.  For all their poignant, if not wordy communiqué, the founding fathers were also masters of the 140-character tweet.  You don’t believe me?  Check out these centuries-old tweets between Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams:



Riveting stuff!  In all seriousness, the manner in which we communicate (including the medium we use to convey our message and the words we use to say or write the message) is in a constant state of flux these days.  There are literally limitless resources at your organization’s fingertips when it comes to communications vehicles.  And factors such as generational and cultural differences account for variations in how we speak, write, and listen—and all of this leads to the potential for some major communication breakdowns in the workplace which, of course, can have seriously negative impacts on your organization’s results.
 
So, in the spirit of our articulate and inspirational founding fathers, I offer the following three simple (but effective!) communications tips for your organization’s consideration:

First, ensure consistency in your organizations voice.  That is, establish some basic communications conventions and a common organizational vernacular and stick to them.  Make those conventions clear and available to all.

Second, ensure your intended audience receives the message.  This is all about the media you choose to deliver your communications.  Are you sending out regularly scheduled organization-wide messages?  Do you have access to readership metrics to ensure you’re maximizing the effectiveness of these messages?  And regularly ask yourself this question, which all-too-often gets overlooked: is email the proper medium for this message ... or should I (GASP!) pick up the phone?
 
Third, ensure the lines of communication remain open.  We all know that communication is a two way street, and that is particularly important to consider in the workplace.  From organization-wide, mass communications down to one-on-one emails, always provide a means for audience feedback/response.  This is also a perfect opportunity to embrace the re-cap.  Confirm the details of the communication, or, better yet, give your audience the opportunity to re-state their interpretation of the message.
 
And there you have it, folks.  Three simple tips ... actually, let’s borrow from the parlance of our forefathers and call them “decrees” ... three decrees to help your organization maximize the effectiveness of its communications.  Keep these decrees in mind and you may find your next all-team meeting flowing something like the Second Continental Congress.  Speaking of which, let’s check back in on the Jefferson, Franklin, Adams tweet-session.



About the Author:
Jim Hartigan, Chief Business Development Officer and Partner joined OrgWide Services, a Training/e-Learning, Communications, Surveys and Consulting firm in April 2010 after nearly 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, including the last 18 as a senior executive with Hilton Worldwide.
 
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Contact:

Jim Hartigan
Chief Business Development Officer & Partner
OrgWide Services
165 N. Main Street, Suite 202
Collierville, TN 38017
office: 901.850.8190  Ext. 230
mobile: 901.628.6586
jim.hartigan@orgwide.com
www.orgwide.com


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