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Comms sit down next to me….



I’m always amazed when I come across people with the gift to clearly and simply communicate messages.  As some of you will know via Twitter, I’ve been trying to review a pretty big research document in 150 words (the real me that is).  It is intense stuff written with the involvement of the best thinkers on work and people management in the land.  This is hardcore strategic management research and yet they want a klutz to review it in less than 200 words.

I struggled through the research (yup, I read every word on every page), I embraced my inner geek and I started to write.  I found it tough.  These are serious dudes that are involved and so the style of writing that I use on here would SO not be appropriate.  Add to that the fact that it is incredibly intellectually challenging stuff and my total desire not to embrace HR bollocks and you start to see the picture.

I got to a stage where I was relatively happy.  It was looking ok…..passable even.  The sort of thing you might read if you were the Lord High Professor of all things Work and had sweated your arse off for months writing this thing, and go….”ok…not bad”. But as a final check I asked our Comms Director and wordsmith beyond compare to take a look.  Within half an hour my review was back, saying exactly the same things…..but,  oh my, did it read so much better.

HR and Comms are inextricably linked, and I’m glad of that.  I have complete and utmost respect for the work that Comms professionals do (even if I enjoy taunting them as a sport).  To be able to communicate complex messages simply and effectively is a gift.  Any HR professional would be a fool not to engage with their Comms teams and learn a lesson or two.  Sure we are the technical content experts, but getting the message across? It’s just not our thing…….

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/01/2010 15:18

    And that is just the point I make when someone asks me, “Why bother to major in English? Who hires anyone with an English degree?”

    Because we know how to evaluate and analyze text and then write about it! It doesn’t matter what your business is – people have to communicate.

    PS I think your writing is just fine. For work, keep your style but cut out the slang and the cuss words.

  2. ianpbuckingham permalink
    07/01/2010 19:59

    A jolly sensible posting.
    I can’t agree more.
    Comms folk need all the positive strokes possible given they’re the one profession that most directors claim they could do without if they only had more time to release their own creative muse more often !!!.
    Now start speaking to the Marketing Director and get to work on that brand…………………

  3. Mark Darby permalink
    07/04/2010 07:34

    As an internal communicator, working with HR often feels like going to the gym. Doesn’t happen often enough, really don’t look forward to it, but always end up enjoying it.
    Reason being? IC and HR both want to get the best of the people in the organisation (usually), and there is a real buzz to being involved in a HR project that will make a business perform better.

    And as much as we love you, you can be a royal pain in the arse –

    a) Yes, you do need to explain what talent management is. To us, its a posh term for a pimp.

    b) Please don’t ask us to review your competency framework. Employees don’t read them, you’ve probably stolen them from Mercer and haven’t read them either.

    c) If you send a HR information pack to Line Managers and ask them to cascade to their teams – they will hate you. Even more than before.

    d) If we spend 2 days rewriting your bonus policy communications, just say thank you. Don’t ask us if you can use a different font.

    e) You do the facts, we do the words. We won’t question the pay bands if you promise not to use the words upskilling, dialogue or leverage.

    f) You know that project you’ve been working on for 6 months, full time, and you’ve come to us to review it with 2 days to go. We want to punch your lights out.

    g) Giving us a post-it note with 3 bullet points and a coffee stain is not considered a draft version.

    h) Remember that communication we worked on until gone midnight, and then it turns out the MD said no to it but you forgot to tell us? It’s like not phoning after having slept with us.

    i) If you come to a meeting with A3 print outs of charts, our eyes will glaze over. No, we cannot turn them into words for you.

    j) You are shit at powerpoint. Don’t take offence, instead use the 1 hour you would have spent copying and pasting your project plan (hint – it’s like word, but landscape and a bigger font), go buy coffees for the people you were going to present to. They like conversations instead.

    k) Buy us lunch. We are the good guys too.

  4. 07/05/2010 07:48

    @The gold digger – I completely agree, the power of clear communication is in everything that we do.

    @ianpbuckingham – Blimey, you agree? *faints*

    @Mark Darby – What a brilliant, comment. That is a post in itself. ” If you send a HR information pack to Line Managers and ask them to cascade to their teams – they will hate you. Even more than before.” Brilliant and unfortunately true!

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