Cleaning up the rumour mill

It was a normal Saturday morning with general domestic chores to do. I was not expecting that a trip to the dry cleaners would be any more than just that, but it was a fascinating window on the issues for modern communication.

During a conversation about Christmas, the weather and holidays the shop-owner had talked about using Facetime and the subject of Facebook had also been mentioned. It was an interesting demonstration of how modern technology is now something that most people use, rely on and are able to discuss in a general chat. I am sure that a couple of years ago this would not have been the case. Few people were happy to talk about social networks unless they were IT professionals or generally those referred to as ‘geeks’. Now it affects most people’s lives in some way.

But then the conversation continued and it was evident that rumours spread by face-to-face interaction were still one of the most challenging things for organisations. I am in a privileged position in having access to accurate information through my work, which we attempt to share with people. However, despite the outcome of a recent case being publicised on the radio it was clear that the rumour mill was of more impact because it had come from a trust source – a friend or family member.

It was a reminder of how important it is to get the right information out to the right people and of the value of face-to-face communication. Not only that, but every member of an organisation needs to be kept informed so that they can provide the right, accurate message whenever and wherever they need to. I was able to explain the situation and ensure that the truth is now something that should start to be shared among people. I wondered whether all the staff would be able to do the same thing? If they can’t then would they know where to go to get the information? And above all what can I do to improve the flow of information through the organisation?

The start of a new year brings with it some new challenges, and many new opportunities. A routine trip to the dry cleaners it may have been but it reinforced what has been on my mind, which is to make the most of social media and technological advances, never to forget the importance of face-to-face communication, and to prioritise internal communication so that everyone in the organisation is well-informed. Now I just need to make these things happen!

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