“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – when author Peter Drucker wrote this he was talking about the importance of being able to read the emotions and non-verbal communications of another person.
I wholeheartedly agree with Drucker’s statement, but if you’re an internal communications manager responsible for communicating with more than 10,000 employees across different continents, hearing what isn’t being said can seem an impossible ambition.
However, all is not lost and there are ways to do exactly that.
I’ve heard about an event taking place in London on 7 May hosted by business communication agency theblueballroom.
It will be looking at how you can use data to drive high-impact communications that deliver results. I’m going along and am looking forward to it.
Here Toni O’Sullivan, @toni-jane, (pictured) their Account Director writes a guest article to update us on what the event is about and how readers of my blog can save nearly £50 off the £199 ticket price by using the exclusive code AllthingsICguest.
She has over 20 years of experience working in communications – including setting up and running her last agency’s HR department – and says she’s passionate about delivering effective communications via engaging channels.
Over to you Toni…
How to use data to drive high impact internal communication
In today’s digital world when internal communicators are challenged to keep content relevant to a diverse audience that is increasingly suffering from information overload and the pressure of tighter deadlines, effective communication can seem an uphill struggle.
Many organisations still rely on email or print newsletters to reach their audience for a number of reasons: pressure from the top management, culture, access to sites / individuals, to name but a few. However, with 50% of the world aged under 30 who consider email to be old hat, this adds to the communications challenge.
A lot of internal communication teams look at ways to harness digital technology channels to make their communications more engaging – from video to interactive documents.
But 72 hours’ worth of video is uploaded to YouTube alone every minute – that’s an awful lot of noise to cut through to reach an employee’s attention!
The average person also has a smartphone and an expectation that the information they receive via that multi-channel device should be tailored to them as an individual. Why should this be any different for employees?
Blurring of lines
As a result, internal communication teams are working more closely with recruitment and marketing teams in their organisations to tie up messaging as the divide between internal and external is becoming more and more blurred thanks to digital.
So what can be done to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time?
To start to answer this I have to go back a few months.
I have to confess to being a bit of a geek on the quiet. So, when our managing director at theblueballroom expressed an interest in a newly formed organisation called the Open Data Institute (ODI) I was immediately interested. Not least in order to understand why a business communications agency would want to be involved in what sounded like a very technical organisation.
It is an independent, non-profit organisation that promotes a culture where the Government and organisations (both commercial and not for profit) make information available for anyone to use for any purpose – ideally to create economic or environmental benefit.
Having attended a number of ODI events I now realise how much information organisations have already at their disposal to better understand their employees, as well as potential recruits and customers! Most companies hold records of employee absence, phone bills, travel information, etc.
Just imagine if all of that information was easily accessible in the same format (as simple as an excel spreadsheet!) and therefore searchable. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know that most absence occurs on a Monday or after a trip to a certain customer site?
A look at data
Access and understanding of this sort of information could be turned into real actionable knowledge that could help us tailor communications campaigns. Data is not a word that communicators tend to feel comfortable around.
It is the stuff of finance team meetings. Open Data analysis can sound like some huge technical process, but in reality it just means information you probably already have.
The challenge is knowing what information you want to find. In our field, that means looking for information that helps us get the message right and deliver it effectively.
Sounds easy, right? In theory it should be, but where to start? As always, it should be about telling and sharing stories and that’s something we’re aiming to do via #thefuturestory – Today 2014. We’re always looking at future trends that will impact us as internal communicators and inviting specialists to help us apply that to our day jobs!
On May 7, at RADA Studios, we’ll be holding our ‘#thefuturestory – Today 2014 event between 10am – 4pm. We will explore, through an expert panel discussion and in-depth conversations, how you can use data to drive high-impact communications that deliver results.
The focus will be two of the key challenges currently facing businesses:
1) Effectively selling to savvy consumers
2) Attracting the right talent amongst increasing competition
We’ll discuss how the information we hold today can provide solutions for our future – on a personal and a business level. The second half of the event will include practical workshops where attendees can discuss their individual challenges with experts including: Open Data Institute, Hiscox, Surevine, as well as multiple global case studies.
Communicators are welcome to come to #thefuturestory on Wednesday 7 May from 10am-4pm. It’s at RADA studios, 16 Chenies Street, London, WC1E 7EX.
Thank you Toni.
Get your ticket here
Disclosure: I have been invited to the event and given a complimentary ticket. However, I wanted to see if I could arrange an exclusive offer for readers of my blog to join in too, and am delighted to say that’s possible.
Tickets cost £199, but my readers can save 25% off the ticket price, which is a saving of approximately £50. All you need to do is enter the following code in the promotional code box on the eventbrite page when prompted: AllthingsICguest. It’s as simple as that.
My thanks to theblueballroom for agreeing to extend their generosity. I went to one of their previous events last year, when #thefuturestory launched and thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can get a glimpse of what happens at the events via the video below, which was filmed in March this year:
I hope to see you there.
Thanks as ever for stopping by,
What you’ve been reading on my blog this week:
How to create an internal communication strategy
Leaders Eat Last – new book from Simon Sinek
Employee advocacy goes under the microscope
Information about my talk at Google last week on employee social networks
Who’s using what for internal social media?