‘What do you do?’

Last night I attended a Third Sector networking event, run for York University alumni- https://www.yorkspace.net/page.aspx?pid=749&srctid=1&erid=211709&trid=ab3a2769-3a75-4795-b03b-659b7735a12f. It was the inaugural event and I thoroughly enjoyed it, meeting some lovely and very interesting people all of whom work for or with organisations who want to change the world.

As always, it was interesting to see the reactions to the work that I do. I have never yet met a single person, either professionally or personally, who has said ‘Oh no, we wouldn’t need you at my place’. The reaction is much more along the lines of ‘We so need someone like you’.

But here’s the rub…. These statements are very often followed with a ‘but….’ – ‘my boss won’t spend money on anything’, ‘they don’t recognise the need’ (it’s not always clear who they are in this one), ‘they think everything is fine and dandy’ (or in this one).

Why should this mismatch exist? Is there something inherently problematic about getting communication right? It certainly isn’t easy and it does take time. However, organisations that are willing to put some thought and planning into how they communicate with each other, what they want to achieve by communicating well and the impact it can have on their people and processes, these are the ones who reap the benefits. Add in engagement stat

I think part of the problem is that communication can be viewed as a separate entity in its own right. This means that ‘communicate’ becomes another item on a busy to do list. However, I always tell my clients that everyone is busy enough without adding to their tasks – communication should be about supporting the work that you do and accelerating or growing the impact that it has. When you get it right, communicating with others about what they and you are doing becomes part of ‘the way we do things round here’. That’s always what I am working towards with the organisations I work with. Based on conversations I had last night, I think that is what a lot of organisations need, if only they are willing to take that first step and look at what great internal communication can really do for them.

So thank you to the York University Alumni and Development Office for organising a great event. I am very much looking forward to the next one and the chance to engage others with the impact of internal communications.

Until next time

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