It’s all in the timing

browningyork Communication audiences, Communication lessons, General communication, Planning, Uncategorized, University

There are many areas of life where timing is all important.

Communication is one of them.

Old fashioned alarm clock on a white table against a white wall
This is something that anyone who has ever had to talk to their boss about a difficult project knows very well. Or if you’ve had to persuade a 2-year-old to put their socks on!

Cycles of work
Working in academic environments has particularly taught me the importance of this aspect of communication. The life of a university turns on an annual cycle with certain things happening at set times: student arrival, exams, student elections, graduation etc.

This means that my academic and professional services colleagues have to focus on those things at those times. Trying to engage them with communication about something that isn’t a priority for them at that time is never going to end well.

You will be telling them – inadvertently – either that you don’t understand their world or that you don’t care about it. We all want to be understood and feel valued, so these are not messages you should be putting out there. Understanding their role makes it far easier to identify appropriate times to communicate with them.

Organisations which don’t run on an academic calendar will still have busy and less busy times. Periods when individuals and teams need to focus on a specific project or outcome. If your communication doesn’t fit with that need, it will be hard to reach them.

Key questions
So instead of getting carried away with enthusiasm and communicating about your new policy NOW, take a short while to consider the following:

  • What are your key dates?
  • How does this timing relate to the priority activities of your audiences?
  • How much time will you need to achieve your desired outcome?
  • What else is going on that could impact your communication? If there are two big announcements on the same day, for example, neither will be truly successful.

Armed with this information and insight, you can time your communications to perfection and achieve your goals.

If you need help with planning the most effective schedule for your communications, get in touch to discuss how I can help.

Until next time
Sarah