Matching the right technology platform and communication channel to the right organizational goal has become a core competency for corporate communicators, underscoring our role as facilitators of conversation in addition to communication planning, writing and editing.
Using curation, collaboration and crowdsourcing (somebody slap me for using these 3 words in one sentence) communicators can facilitate conversation to enhance the senior leader decision-making process while driving workforce engagement.
Shel Holtz discussed the value of curation recently at a BlogWorld presentation I attended in New York City, casting the communicator in the role of “curator of content,” or one who delivers informative content from various sources to a targeted audience. As Shel says, it’s a great way to become a trusted guide to useful content about targeted topics. Ragan.com is a source of curated content for communicators, offering a variety of blog posts on internal communication, public relations, social media, and human resources. Ragan is diligent to find and deliver this useful content to your inbox on a daily basis, and the value of the two-way conversation emerging from the comments can exceed the article itself. Communicators can offer curated content to targeted groups within their organizations, offering a valuable service to their time-strapped workforce. Curated content may help them work more efficiently and make more informed decisions. Just be sure to secure the permission of content creators before you publish.
Micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, Yammer, Jive and Chatter offer opportunities for communicators to facilitate collaboration through real time Tweet-chats, using hash tags (denoted by the # sign) to identify topical conversations. I participated in a Tweet-chat last week where internal communication topics were discussed in messages of 144 characters at the #ichat hashtag. You can easily isolate these conversations on Twitter and join in yourself, closing each remark with the identifiable hashtag.
“There’s something fun, enjoyable and pleasantly interactive about this channel of communication,” says Judy Jones (@redjudy), the executive director of employee communication at The New York Times, who was part of the same Twit-chat. “But like most social media,” she wisely observes, “Twit-chats are hard to explain and best understood through firsthand experience.”
Twit-chats can be a great learning and collaborative experience. The conversation doesn’t always stay on point, but there’s always something interesting to be gleaned from where they go organically. Participation in Twit-chats is well worth the effort, and internal communicators can use them strategically to help senior leaders mine the intellectual capital of the organization.
Which leads to the third way communicators can add value; namely, through crowdsourcing—community-based decision making by design. There was a thoughtful post in Michael Selzner’s Social Media Examiner on this topic last week, where crowdsourcing was described as a multiplayer experience that relies on collective, thoughtful engagement.
It’s the idea of connecting more deeply with our workforce and integrating feedback into the senior leader decision-making process. Communicators can drive engagement by teaching senior leaders to sound out ideas (marketing or otherwise) and provide context for change initiatives through conversations on micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, Yammer, Jive or Chatter. It’s another example of the communicator as a facilitator of useful workplace dialogue, matching the right communication channel and technology with the right organizational goal.
What ideas do you have for facilitating strategic conversation at your organization?
Image by Mark Fidelman via Flickr