Where I Am, What I am Doing and Who I Am With – Part 2: I Wouldn’t Start From Here

Balancing a mix of technologies while taking advantage of presence when we can, takes thought and dogged persistence. It is not easy or obvious. We can be so in awe of the technology that, while it enables things we otherwise could not do, it can isolate us if we are not careful.

I have got used to corporate comms events being run as Webcasts, frankly they are not a great starting point and I am guilty here of making the best of a bad job, to put it mildly, hence the title of this post which I have altered since it was first posted to make it a bit more direct.

Webcasts are great for broadcast, but on their own they fail to connect people to each other. As stewards of the connectedness and wellbeing of our people, we risk shirking a management responsibility while ticking the comms box.

We tend watch these webcasts at our desks, on our own. A very few usual suspects join the online conversation, but while that thread might sometimes be long, it is usually narrow too.

Receiving a broadcast on our own when surrounded by others doing the same, each of us cocooned by headphones, distracted by email and IM, is a missed opportunity and a failure to take advantage of where we are and who we are with, so we can connect and do things better. Shared experiences are more memorable and make for more effective communication.

We can’t be together all the time though, and mixing in an online conversation can be powerful. We will be more inclined to join that conversation if actively led by advocates to show the way. At work this SM type approach is still very new, it still doesn’t feel like work to most. The hard core that “get it” forget that they still make up a tiny proportion of the whole in most organisations. It takes dogged persistence and leadership by example to make it work.

For the next webcast I will get my teams (and anyone else who wants to join in) together in our various locations to watch in small groups, debate it among ourselves and join the on line conversation too, balancing the best of presence while making a few random connections. Go me etc., but I will still be making the best of a bad job.

The next post is about how it is dawning on me that finding time to talk to myself now and then is actually a sign of sanity!

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3 thoughts on “Where I Am, What I am Doing and Who I Am With – Part 2: I Wouldn’t Start From Here

  1. I hate webcasts. Reading your post gave me shudders as it reminded me of the overly-engineered, largely superfluous and sometimes sycophantic webcasts I used to listen to. To me, comms is like collaboration – it happens naturally when it should, and you can’t force it.

    At NBC, we do corporate comms in true media style, by taking cinemas over. Whilst this is really only good for one-to-many comms, it is personal and you get an audience that is a) engaged and b) more willing to ask questions in the open forum. OK, so it helps that we handed out 3D specs as people walked in and showed trailers for Jurassic Park 3D and Despicable Me 2. But as people walk back from the cinema to the office you get another beneficial side-effect: people cluster together and talk about what they’ve just heard or seen. It’s a start reminder that electronic isn’t everything.

    Now, compare that to electronic collaboration. I have just implemented Jive at NBC. I didn’t structure it in a corporate way. I didn’t put together a massive implementation plan involving Deloitte. And I didn’t go on a big “use it or else” drive. I seeded it to two people. Two carefully selected millennials, but only two. And in three weeks we had over 150 users. In 6 weeks we had over 600. Still no corporate comms. Still no publicity. Still no mandate. People are using it because they find it useful and in a way that they have defined, not one that corporate comms have pre-ordained.

    An interesting juxtaposition of two areas that corporate comms traditionally get involved in, one of which benefits from being electronic, the other which doesn’t. In our drive to tick the box, as you say, the corporate comms nerds completely omit the most essential detail: how to get people engaged and make them (invite them to ?) listen. Of course, it helps that there is something meaningful and relevant that is being communicated too. Putting everyone in the same room, or different rooms a la your speed-dating model you’re going to try, is only of any use if people aren’t bored senseless by what is being said.

    • Hi,

      Do you know what? You make a great point. I am guilty of making the best of a bad job. I suspect I will have to and I will do these things. But frankly, it is a bad starting point. So in your honour I have retitled the post.

      I do this stuff to think out loud, get challenged and learn, so thanks.

      More challenges welcome.

      Cheers,

      Anthony

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