Current Adelaide time:
          

Fresh News:

Dialogue: the four dialogic principles for successful communication

"But you don't understand!" exclaimed the manager, "this new initiative is vital for our team. If it doesn't work we could all be out of a job!"

"Uh-huh... Really... Explain to me again how this new initiative is so different from previous initiatives that were also going to cost me my job if they didn't work" asked the long-term employee.

"Look; we have to do this. Can't you see?"

"Why do we have to do this? No-one has explained to me yet 'why'."

And therein lies the fundamental problem of most management initiatives. They leave one small, seemingly insignificant cog unattended—letting the person at the 'sharp end' know why a new initiative has been launched and what their own personal role is expected to be.

Even those companies who do let the employees know the what and why very often fail to elicit anything other than tacit compliance and eventual failure of the initiative.

The reason is simple—the employees are given no part in the discussion about why a new initiative is needed, the business case for it, what shape the initiative should take to meet the business need, and what their individual role and responsibility is in order to bring the initiative to a successful conclusion.

At the heart of the issue lies communication:

successful communication is not a one-to-one or one-to-many transaction, but a dialogue between interested parties

and successful dialogues rely on four principles: Reality, Reaction, Co-ordination and Purposefulness.

 

1. Being real

"Do not say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary" Charles Darwin, 1859.

For employees (and customers, too!) 'reality' will be those things that most directly affect them. Yes, 'reality' is a perceptive subjectivity, but don't expect someone to change their perception of 'reality' just because you have a different viewpoint.

Internal and external customers of your communication are extremely adapt at seeing 'beyond the rhetoric', at exploiting any gap between rhetoric and their 'reality'.

If you are going to promise something, even just manage an expectation, ensure that what you are promising or managing is actually deliverable in the vast majority of instances.

 

2. React to what is said

How many managers or salespeople have we ourselves had to endure who listened politely to what you say, nodded their head and gave assuring "ah ha's" even, yet completely and utterly fail to act on what you have said? How many times have such interactions left you feeling like you had just spoken to a smiling and amiable wall?

Dialogue is not dialogue if the other person or persons don't react or show they actually understood what you said.

 

3. Co-ordinate your communication

Too often the communication is 'lost' on the recipients because the language used is jargon, or their are just too many implicit and explicit messages. Given a hundred different messages, which one should the recipient attend to first? Second? Last?

All communication should be in harmony to the strategic framework—that is, the vision and the support documentation—so that it responds to the vision, objectives and values; so that the links between the vision and the messages are clear; and so that the language used is common to all stakeholders.

 

4. Understanding the purpose of the message

Before even beginning a communication process, it is vital to understand what the customer or employee knows and feels about you and the ideas you represent. Knowing this helps you decide the purpose of the message.

Akin to Maslow's psychological heirarchy, there are four levels of purpose, each of which pre-supposes and relies on the existence of the previous level. They are sequential and it is not possible to achieve an objective until all levels are completed, in order and fully.

The levels, in ascending order are:
Awareness > Understanding > Conviction > Action

4.1: Awareness
Let's take as an example a company attempting to differentiate itself in the marketplace, with the end goal of bringing someone to make a purchase of their service.

Without bringing your existence to the attention of the prospective customer you cannot move on to the higher levels. Indeed, even internal communications often fall short on this point: they fail to restate the context of the communication, which is in effect 'awareness'.

4.2: Understanding
Once a prospect has gained awareness, they are then ready to move on to understanding what it is that differentiates you from the 'noise' of your competitors. They will need to understand what specific qualities you bring to the marketplace.

This level is vital to internal communication: the biggest block I come across in assessing why an internal communication has failed is not that the staff don't know what is going on, but that they don't understand 'why' it is going on.

4.3: Conviction
Customers now have awareness and understanding; they now need convincing that your service is right for them.

Even more importantly, they must be convinced that you must be their supplier, because you have a distinctive competence that meets their specific needs.

4.4: Action
Finally, this conviction in you must be turned into action. It is up to you to decide what action they should ideally take—a phone call into a sales office, perhaps, or a request for a consultant to visit; even a request for further supporting literature.

In internal communication the primary level is all to obvious—action. Yet unless those who are to deliver the service are made aware, helped to understand and are convinced they will not deliver effectively or efficiently.

 

Conclusion

At the heart of all management lies communication, and successful communication is not a one-to-one or one-to-many transaction, but a dialogue between interested parties. Successful dialogues rely on four principles: Reality, Reaction, Co-ordination and Purposefulness.

Understanding what the other's 'reality' is, giving and receiving appropriate reactions to feedback, co-ordinating coherent messages and understand the purpose of each message are the four key principles for successful communication.

 

Reports I have written:

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing

 

 

Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter yet?

As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.

Twitter Mastery for Business - subscribe and it's yours for free!Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.

It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.

Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.

Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.

But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.

Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]

Subscribe now!

Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to www.LeeHopkins.com:

"Lee Hopkins the author of over 130 articles on business communication, and is recognised world-wide as one of Australia's leading experts in online business communication, including Social Media or Web2.0 as it's also known.

To connect with him, please email him at Lee at LeeHopkins.com

Visit his site at www.LeeHopkins.com to find many more articles on business communication. He also blogs at www.LeeHopkins.net. Whilst there, why not pick up a complimentary copy of his 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business', which explains all about this latest seismic change to the business communication landscape!"

EzineArticles.com Platinum AuthorCreative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.

 

 

 

Follow me on TwitterFollow me on FacebookFollow me on LinkedInFollow me on YouTubeFollow me on Google+

Subscribe

Subscribe to my newsletter now and be the envy of world presidents

Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...

 

Related material :

Twitter

Better Business Writing course

A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.

More details

 

Better Business Writing

Better Business Writing course

You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.

Well, now there is.

More details

Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!

Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now! http://www.proposalkit.com

Social Media White Paper
(3rd Edition)

Social Media book for free

Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.

Download your free copy now (pdf)

Find out more about it (opens new window)

Vodburner rocks!
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...

What you say about Lee Hopkins:
 

"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "


"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"


"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "


"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "


"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"


"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"


"Oz's best social network strategist"


"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"


"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"


"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."


"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"


"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."


"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."


"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."


"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."


"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."


"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."


"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"


"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"


“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "


“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."

“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”


“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."


"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"


Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?

Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.

View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare

View leehopkins's profile on slideshare

Why does employee communication matter?

Why does employee communication matter?

Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare

For your consideration:

 

Your special audio report on VOIP is here!

Free VOIP report

 

 

 

 


 
Your special audio report on website design is here!

Free Website design report

 

 

 



"I communicate therefore I am"
CommsCafe mug
Available in medium and large mug sizes. You KNOW you want one!

 

 

CommsCafe mug

Available in men's and women's fittings. You KNOW you want one!


Writing for a web audience

Netwriting Masters CourseWant to write more powerfully for a web audience?...
Right-click on this image and download the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.
"The definitive guide to writing for the web"
says Lee