There’s something very appealing to me about going ‘off-grid’. Of course ‘off-grid’ means different things to different people. For some it just about sticking some solar panels up on the roof, while others go the whole hog; farm a small holding, install some compostable toilets, dig a borehole for their own water supply…
Kicking away the crutches of modern life’s conveniences – or inconveniences depending on how you see them – can be quite inspiring. So what if you can carry through the same ‘Good Life’ approach for communicating to your fellow employees?
The law of diminishing communications returns
“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate…” said Joseph Priestley. And he has something there if you think about how technology dominates how we communicate. In effect, the online tools at our fingertips, while very powerful, can risk making our communications increasingly ineffective. It’s the law of diminishing communications returns. The more you do of it, the less people listen to it.
What if you abandon the corporate intranet, do away with email, text messaging, instant messaging, and any other social tool like Yammer, and decide to do a little ‘off grid’ communication? Dig out your pre-online age communications toolbox and have a rummage and see what you can find:
Not everyone can hangout online all the time; have a think about where your fellow employees physically hangout at work;
- Reception areas
- Kitchen/drinks areas
- Meeting areas
- And of course, at their desks.
Now think about how you can use those areas;
- Talk to each other…there’s an idea. What forums exist to promote ‘talking’? How are those regular soapbox presentations going? Email free hour? Team meetings, road shows…
- Deskdrop – one guaranteed way of getting everyone’s attention for those really big announcements. Send a letter…in an envelope…addressed by hand…
- Notice boards – not just one way communication; use a whiteboard and ask questions. You’ll get responses.
- The rumour mill – great for finding out stuff but think how can you use it to push messages too.
- Guerrilla tactics – how can you hi-jack existing ‘offline’ communications. Staff get a Christmas gift every year? A great opportunity to communicate . Or at the Christmas party…
- Posters – people love pictures, so how can a series of posters help your internal comms campaign?
- Newsletters – don’t underestimate the power of the hardcopy newsletter. Could be a one-off related to a particular event for example.
Set yourself the challenge of running a communications project that’s entirely ‘off-grid’. You might be surprised at how successful it can be when you abandon online tools.
Mind you, the compostable toilets are still a terrible idea.