Stuck in a Communications Rut?

During a recent dinner conversation with friends, they lamented the loss of personal interaction with their teenagers…replacing real conversation/ dialogue with Tweets, texting and Facebooking. While I agree (and force my own to have face-to-face family dinners), I am really embracing the positive changes unleashed through these tools that I see in my own teenager. He cares about social causes (KONY 2012, fundraising for sick kids, etc.), follows the Syrian crisis via YouTube and stays in touch through Facebook and Skype. I fully get that these tools can have a downside when they replace face to face dialogue, and can be abused…but I am embracing new media because I am excited to harness the opportunities to engage in a different, and maybe better, way. These tools, and more like them that are on the way, are here to stay, whether we like it or not. Initially, I didn’t feel that way… I just had to get out of my rut to see it this way.

The reality is that the forces of new social media have revolutionized the way we engage, communicate and teach and learn. It’s no longer “ok” to stick with the same tried and true methods because people listen, learn and engage in a radically different way than they used to (even just a year or two ago). It’s just not effective anymore to expect people to plow through piles of long-winded emails or training manuals to get information and knowledge they need. I’m amazed at clients and executives in forward-thinking companies who just don’t see the need, or the business case, to embrace new ways of communication and engagement.

Do you find yourself buying into social media myths?

  • Social media is a time-waster and takes away from productivity
  • All the content that gets posted is negative and critical of our company – we can’t take that chance and don’t have resources to police the sites
  • We don’t have a need for a collaboration tool – our people meet face to face in the office together or travel if needed
  • We’ll have major security issues if we try to implement a social media tool like Yammer

While there are valid truths in some measure at the core of these myths, we have had success helping clients overcome them, implementing tools that changed the way they collaborate, engage and learn. So get out of that rut and envision a future where you can reach the people (employees/customers) you want in the right way with just the right information to influence behavior! The methods, tools and business case are pretty powerful, once you embrace the change.

Sheri Browning is a Partner at PeopleResults. You can reach her at or on Twitter @sbPResults.