Franchisees and cooperatives are overwhelmed with communication. Consequently they’re being trained not to pay attention to any of it. The key is to have less communication that people listen to, but the communication should be of better quality. In other words, make the words count.
Reducing quantity of communication
Most of us have heard the story of the boy who cried wolf. The story is so popular, in fact, that its title has become a way of describing people in many different situations. One of those situations, unfortunately, is the communication in many organizations.
Whether management knows it or not, the barrage of emails that they send out is actually training franchisees or co-op members to disregard their attempts at communication. Franchisees and members often feel overwhelmed by the amount of communication they receive from management but they have learned that if they ignore an email from management, it will often be sent again in a different format or as a reminder. Because of the ‘crying wolf’ syndrome, employees have learned that any email whose subject line says “URGENT” is probably not.
The best way to get your employees to pay attention to you communication is to stop being the manager who cried wolf. Send less communication; reduce your quantity.
Improving quality of communication
But at the same time, you have to increase the quality of communication. Since you are sending less communication, you have to make sure that the things you send are things that people will listen to. So now that you know what to know, you have to know how to do it.
How do you create effective communication?
- Tell people what you are going to do. Make franchisees or members aware that they will no longer be receiving irrelevant communication.
- Identify what it is that people consider relevant. Survey your organization to find out what different groups want to know and what topics they want to receive communication about.
- Once you have surveyed a large number of people, categorize their interests in ways that are specific enough to only include things that they want to hear. Some examples of the categories you might create are: marketing, training, operations, new business, development, or sales.
Once franchisees or members begin to see the changes in the communication style of management, they will be sure to read what their emails say. The change from employees deleting emails to reading them is a small one but still a step in the right direction. Each person who becomes more engaged in their emails is becoming more engaged in the organization because they are finding out what is going on and becoming interested in their company. And who knows, maybe an email they read will interest them enough to become fully engaged members of the organization.
Do you ever become annoyed with your company because they send unnecessary emails? When you get more emails than you can possible read, how do you decide which to open and which to delete? If you knew that ALL of your emails contained something you wanted to know, would you consider them all important?