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Monday, May 6, 2013

There is NO Such Thing as Over Communicating

The world of marketing and PR in particular is very interesting to say the least.  Having worked in these fields for longer than I want to admit, because it will give away my age, I can tell you I have pretty much seen and heard it all.  

Naturally people tend to think of PR people as Spin Doctors and they would be..well..mostly right.  However, I would argue that is not always the case.  In my role as the head of PR in a few organizations, I always wanted to tell the truth, be timely and be truly transparent.  This does not always go over well. However, it is my belief that the truth will come out and being the one to tell the story first sets the tone and builds trust

Perhaps my favourite story though has got to be one CEO that told me we were "over communicating."  Unfortunately I am not making that up.  I have to say that I was rendered speechless.  Over communicating?  Seriously?  People cite communication problems all the time and never once in my entire career have I heard someone say it was because a person or organization was "over communicating."  In fact, case studies, best practices and real life accounts of well..everything speak about the need to communicate constantly and that there is no such thing as over communicating.  Sadly that organization still suffers from that belief. 

In fact, articles like Creating the Best Workplace on Earth  as presented by Harvard Business Review advocate the need for constant communication stating: "We maintain, though, that executives should err on the side of transparency far more than their instincts suggest.  Particularly today, when trust levels among both employees and customers are so low and background noise is so high, organizations must work very hard to communicate what's going on if they are to be heard and believed."  

While PR practitioners can advise, we don't create magic.  So, the best bet is to remain true to your professional values and follow the Communicators' Checklist as noted above.  What would you add to this list?

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