Blog about Internal Communications, written by Jan van Veen, Corporate Communications Manager at a Fortune 500 company, based in the Netherlands
26 October 2010
Stop communicating, please!
Gerry McGovern, the famous guru on the subject of writing for the web has this famous line: giving an intranet to a communicator is like giving a pub to an alcoholic. Makes me smile every time I hear it, but it is so true!
In fact, this rule probably applies to most of the tools we use internally. Very often, when a manager or a project leader asks my advice, I tell him or her to skip 90% of what they were planning to communicate. Why write a newsletter that nobody reads, why add yet another full, non-relevant intranet page, why make a brochure about your project?
We need to reverse our tendency to communicate. My personal view is that our job as internal communicators should be to reduce the noise, not to add to it. Stop sending, unless you are really sure that you could add value for your readers.
Yes, I am guilty too, don’t get me wrong, but I have promised myself to change my habits, as the era of social media and information overload has changed the way that people want to receive information. Of course, we should not stop communicating, but, at least consider to stop SENDING.
So, why did I write this blog post, isn't that a contradiction? Remember, I am still that alcoholic in the pub, and old habits die slowly. In fact, I will probably write some more blog posts about this subject in the future, as I think the underlying trends will impact the world of internal communications immensely. And, of course, I must be arrogant enough to assume that I am adding value to you readers. I need a drink…