the other morning my eldest announced, “today’s the first day of spirit week! it’s going to be so fun. we get to take off our shoes and pants!” that awakened me faster than the high-test coffee i was slurping. after i sputtered an anxious “what?!,” she repeated herself. turns out that’s not what she said at all.
“we get to take off our shoes and dance.”
since checking the understanding of far-flung employees isn’t as quick and easy as chatting across the breakfast counter, use these 8 techniques to make sure your communications are understood:
- use writers who know what you’re talking about. if they don’t, nobody else will either.
- write for understanding, not impressing. employees shouldn’t need a dictionary, a lawyer, or a decoder ring to understand what you’re telling them.
- stick to the meat. focus on any steps employees need to take and when they need to take them. be sure to identify what employees should stop, start, or continue doing.
- add stories and provide scenarios. show what it means IRL (in real life) and at all levels.
- acknowledge different learning styles. use multiple approaches to communicate: visual, audio, and experiential.
- rely heavily on online communications. they’re quick to upload and even quicker to edit.
- involve a diverse group of reviewers. find out early if what you think the communications say is what employees actually take away.
- confirm understanding. create a feedback loop, whether that’s a simple Q&A box, survey, or monitoring social sites.