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First, master the message

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m often told by my cohort that communication isn’t what it used to be. The Luddites would have me believe face-to-face is dead and replaced by electrons. Far from it! Face-to-face will never go out of style; it’s just supplemented by email, IM, texting, Skype, Twitter, and other media

Continuous connectivity is a fact, and any leader worth their salt seeks out a way to master that context. Here are a couple of pointers I share with all my front-line staff:

  • First master the message
    • No amount of technology can fix a bad message. Regardless of the vehicle, you still have to craft and sell the message.
    • That fundamental has not changed and never will: An effective message is born from meticulous craftsmanship, and the way we craft a message has not changed in spite of all the technology.
  • Then master the volume
    • You can’t ignore it and you can’t make it go away. I get 120 – 150 email/day, 100’s of tweets, a dozen or so blogs, RSS feeds, etc.
    • Data filtering is a critical leadership skill. It’s about signal vs. noise: know the difference and assume a substantial amount of the input is noise. Your job is to figure out what is true signal.
    • Don’t respond to everything, only respond to signal.
    • My front line supervisors learn from day one that (important + urgent) = mandatory live interaction.

And don’t worry about the technology. If you master the message and master the volume, then the technology will sort itself out.

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