Last month I went on a day trip to London with my Dad. Now approaching his 70th birthday he wanted to revisit his old haunts from the late 60s when he lived and worked there. We had a great day with lots of reminiscing and memories. Inevitably after more than 40 years, some things had changed and some places weren’t where he thought they were. Several times during the day we stopped people on the street to ask for directions and clarifications of where a particular building or landmark was. Each time they were happy to help and give their own thoughts.
Similarly, when I took part in a fundraising walk in North Devon earlier this year, my friend Morwhenna and I go talking to lots of people along the route. Everyone was willing to stop for a chat, give us help or hear more about our journey.
These two experiences reminded me of the power of talking to people. Whilst intranets, Yammer, online forums and all manner of other digital tools undoubtedly have their place in the mix for any comms plan, we do need to remember as communicators to include face to face and person to person options. (As Communication Guy told us in my last post!)
During my career I have often been faced with colleagues and clients saying to me ‘I need to communicate my project to [such and such a team or group of people]’ so I have regularly found myself saying ‘have you thought about talking to them?’ At first I felt a bit silly saying it because it seems so obvious, but I’ve come to realise that’s often the point – it is so obvious that it can be overlooked.
Of course, just because it’s obvious and simple, that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. People sometimes shy away from talking to others because it can be difficult, especially if it’s a controversial topic or a challenging group. But I believe that if you’re brave enough to give it a go – and sensible enough to plan and rehearse as much as possible beforehand – talking directly to others can be a fantastic opportunity to get your message across, listen to feedback and iron out potential misunderstandings before they even arise.
Until next time