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“Over communication is better than under communication”.
I heard this for the first time during my initial days with Fidelity and its something that has been with me since then. The thing with simple statements is that while they appear ridiculously simple and obvious they are really hard to implement/follow.
Communication of all sorts is very critical as it can make or break lots of situations and institutions. From boardrooms to bedrooms its a common observation that those who are high on C.Q (communication quotient) are better placed as compared to those who are bad or not good at it.Needless to say while communication is extremely important it is not the only constituent of progress and success.
From companies and organizations point of view communication is even more crucial because their the stakes are really high and its impact can be felt on a huge number of people/employees. Their are various aspects of communication like
Flow of communication both internal and external can be in various directions namely bottom to top, top to bottom and horizontal. In most cases the stress is laid(if at all) on the top to bottom flow of communication and that too it in a “just listen/obey to it” sort of way, for ex: emails from founders, managers giving employees directions/instructions. But those who understand the importance of communication lay emphasis on bottom-up and horizontal communication as well because the 360 degree flow of communication can really do wonders, to name a few things, the management would be more aware of the needs/demands/expectations of the employees and a lot of feedback/innovation can come to the surface if this channel is properly established.
Speaking of web startups: Despite the fact that its utterly easy to communicate with their users by means of blogs etc most startups suck at it and communicate only as a last resort. Be it informing users about scheduled downtimes, sharing details of new features or seeking feedback, more often then not its not done. I think not only should they communicate via their blogs much more but also they should keep an eye or establish channels for incoming communication by their users(ex: blogs, microblogs, forums).
What do you prefer, getting newspapers daily or weekly ? Its that simple but then again following it isn’t.
Be it communication within big organizations or small teams or with your site/blog audience. The frequency and regularity of communication is also important. Important because there needs to some basic level of communication that needs to be attained before things start to change and something substantial comes out from the other side. Obviously it won’t make any sense if someone from management asks his employees about the things they’d want to change in the company and then comes back to the same question after an year and expect a genuine answer.
Speaking of web startups: One of the easiest things that can be done is to update their blogs as frequently as possible not only about the good things but also the bad ones. I hate it when while visiting a site i find its under scheduled maintenance for 1.5 hours but there isn’t even a small mention of it on their blog. Core thought being be proactive and inform the users before them finding out and coming to you.
Content of communication is extremely important. In the sense that the content if explicit/comprehensive it won’t leave any scope for confusions n illusions. There a lot of cases in which communication within the organization and outside isn’t really fruitful because it does not show the full/clear picture and thus limits the vision and perception of the intended audience about the thing/issue in question. Whenever in doubt whether a thing is good/big enough to be communicated, just do it, because it might be big/good or important for someone else.
Speaking of web startups: My advice would be to share as many things as you can with your users. Users just love to hear and know more about the services/sites they like and use. Share more things big or small about your product, your company and if possible even a bit about yourself.