Communication is about much more than the tools we use. When we focus on just the tools, we gloss over an essential element of the conversation we should be having.
Rather than dissecting the way we communicate, it’s time to begin discussing the how and why.
Gartner reports that 80% of effective communication is based on the organization’s culture and the personalities of the people behind it. On the other hand, only 20%can be attributed to the tools used to do the communicating.
In other words, it’s more important to focus on the type of communications we make, what we’re trying to accomplish, and then determine which tool to use. At Carpool, we refer to this as “compartmentalizing our comms.”
This strategy is based on the way we use social tools outside of work to manage all of life’s various communications. For instance, most people use Facebook to stay in touch with large groups of friends. Texting works best with quick, urgent messages to close family and friends. Instagram provides a great way to let people know what’s happening in our lives. Twitter provides an outlet to the world. And Tinder provides an avenue to connect with people we’d like to move into our text and Instagram circles.
In our personal lives, we naturally filter all of our various communications into the tools that best handle each interaction. But the business world has been lagging behind, largely because of our dependence on one tool — email — to handle everything.
It makes more sense in a professional setting to organize efforts around conversation, creation, and consumption.
Conversations serve as the informal communications that lead to the creation of formal work. Finally we publish that work so that it can be consumed and digested by our colleagues. When we decouple information from restrictive communication channels we can create a flow of information that takes full advantage of the entire organization in a more efficient, more organic way.
Each of these categories play a critical part in our day-to-day interactions, and the more we understand the value that each has, the easier it will be to evolve the way we work.
The tools will help us, but first we have to shift our mindset to recognize the value of working in the open and working out loud.