The problem with pamphlets…

There are a million metric tones of management consultants who will tell you that the biggest problem for everyone is communication. For a species that relies on communicating to do everything, we’re remarkably bad at it. We’re even worse at it in large groups, where there’s a fine line between getting your message out and bashing the couple of people who are still listening over the head with a brickbat. I won’t even get started again on modes and methods. You people out there who are afraid of email know who you are and there’s nothing I can say to save your souls.

I could write a dissertation on elements of communication and strategy to get your message out. Fundamentally, all of them rely on having some kind of message discipline – that is, build your message calendar and don’t let anything, no matter how seemingly important, take you off the message of the day. If the day or week is focused on training, every word out of your mouth should be focused on elements of training. Any question asked should be spun to reflect those same elements. Message discipline is what makes people sit up and notice even a low budget political campaign. Lack of discipline is the kiss of death even when you’re well funded. Get on point and beat the message into the ground and only change the tune on your own terms. Asnd for God’s sake, don’t confuse the message by running off on a tangent every time someone else wanders by and distracts you for 30 seconds. You’re going to end up with two dozen different messages that were only received by one person each rather than one message received by two dozen people.

For the record, a pamphlet is piss poor communication. If you’re lucky someone looks at it once and throws it away while maybe, just maybe remembering that they saw it at all. The chance of them remembering content: almost zero. Just the way it is. Flyers are good for a quick attention grab, but don’t expect much more from them. Of course it helps if there aren’t three people trying to design the exact same pamphlet based on ever so slightly different direction. Then what little return on investment you’ll get from the end product is diluted due to the increased labor hours expended to come up with three versions of the exact same bloody thing. Throwing a lot of manpower at this kind of thing is fine if, and only if, you have bodies to spare and nothing else that needs done.

In summation: 1) Communication is more than wandering around dispensing wild eyed, half-formed ideas; 2) Disciplined communication carries the day; 3) Pamphlets are, as a rule, stupid; 4) Using three people where one is sufficient is redundant. Knowing these four simple things could go a long way towards making those eight hours in the middle of the day seem less arbitrary and capricious.

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