Communication by numbers

When we are busy and have a lot to do being able to rely on simple processes and systems can be helpful. It speeds things up and means we can stop thinking and just follow the 1, 2, 3 and get things done. This serves us well but should be treated with huge caution as it can become the default position.

I spent the week struggling to make any impact on my ‘to do’ list at work. It is a job I have done for many years and while every day is different there are some elements that reappear on a regular basis. Being comfortable with things brings its own challenges. It is vital to bring an open mind to every situation and for communication professionals following the system can be flawed.

There are many ‘how to’ books, blogs and systems that people try to promote. ‘Do x and y and you will have communication success, the simple system to gain 100,000 followers’ I am sure you will have seen similar. While there are some things that can be done by rote it certainly can’t be a way to achieve innovation or creativity.

Successful communication and the best communicators have to be looking to step outside of systems and processes and to move into uncharted territory that brings creativity. Doing things differently, trying new things and taking a fresh look at the issue or problem is the way to develop and improve what we do.

I have a personal hatred of spreadsheets and also of treading the same well-worn path. The warning is clear for all of us, check what you are doing and make sure you are still thinking about things and are not doing communication by numbers.

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