Last week I wrote about communication
struggles at startups and small companies. Since Telerik is
the largest company I’ve ever worked for, I’ve asked my sister, Caroline
Forte, to write a guest blog post. Caroline has worked at large companies for
a long time and is also responsible for several aspects of corporate communications
in her current role. Take it away sis:
I’ve worked in communications at a large company for longer than I’d like to publically
admit. During that time I have supported many different facets of the business, yet
the communication challenges seem to be very consistent. No matter how much information
you try to provide there are always two camps – the “you must be holding some information
back” camp and the “I don’t have time to read this” camp.
As a divisional or departmental communicator you are competing with the corporate
messaging – intranets, memos from leadership, electronic newsletters, messages from
HR, internal blogs, message boards and …well you get my drift. How do you prevent
your leader’s voice from getting lost in the shuffle? Now throw in the global perspective
of language, culture and time zones. And the icing on the cake was when I supported
manufacturing where more than half of the audience did not have a dedicated pc.
Basically as a communicator you are always competing - competing with the employees’
time and interest, competing with how the external media skews your internal news,
competing with the internal message blogs where employees get to rip apart your messaging.
Readers are fickle – especially the younger workforce. If you don’t grab them in the
beginning, tell it to them straight and answer the WIIFM then you’ve lost them. I’ve
read somewhere that communications is one of the most stressful jobs – right up there
with air traffic controllers. Scary thought, eh? Maybe I’ll try that on for size when
A few quick tips:
So why do we even bother, other than the fact that most of us are a bit quirky and
we enjoy the insaneness of the job . Because knowing that each day you have answered
someone’s question, pointed them in the right direction, clarified an issue and increased
transparency then you can go home thinking, I guess I can do this all over again tomorrow.
Stephen Forte sits on the board of several start-ups including Triton Works. Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region and speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on application and database development including Programming SQL Server 2008 (MS Press).
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