Since I had been commenting on communication and HR discussions on LinkedIn in the last two weeks, I decided to initiate a discussion on Ineffective communication. I wrote:

Business executives know what they want to communicate. But, they don’t know how to effectively communicate their messages. Why does this disconnect exist? How can it be removed?

Those who responded agreed that communication is a much neglected skill in the workplace. Everybody knows it is a ‘must have’, but there’s little enthusiasm for developing the skill.

Part of the problem seems to be the difficulty in quantifying the cost of poor communication. One reader suggested a process that identifies preferred communication styles and measures the effectiveness of a message. To learn more about the recommended model, I searched for information on the Internet.

A search that illustrates my original question. While the communication model itself is designed to improve communication, the marketing communication for the product is itself ineffective.

For instance —

  • The model and its author feature as the URL for so many of its licensed trainers and distributors, that the corporate website does not feature on the front page in a Google search.
  • Eventually, I found out that there was one URL on the first page that lead to the corporate website. However, the page itself would not open.
  • The uniqueness of communication model has not been communicated on either the corporate website or those of the licensed distributors. I could replace the product with any other performance measurement model and the assurances given would comfortably fit the new label.
  • One of the “official” websites has links to a questionnaire and the communication styles. However, when I tried to access the questionnaire, the page would not open for some reason. The communication profiles took too long to load. Nor was it possible to open the pages simultaneously using new tabs.

To its credit, the company has responded positively to the feedback. The COO of the company acknowledges that its marketing communications is under review and is being updated.

Looking at this website, and most organisational websites, I sense that sufficient thought is not given to the purpose of a website and to its audience. Whether it is a website for a business, an NGO, a charity or even a home-stay, the assumption seems to be that —

  • a picture will speak a thousand words – captions are unnecessary,
  • abstract words (unique, customised, innovative, creative) and adjectives (market leader, leading, world class) sell services and products.

And yet, these websites are designed by professionals who would /should know that the purpose of the message and understanding the needs of the audience is the foundation for effective communication. Unfortunately, this is where most organisations and their executives stumble.