For too long I have worked for “closed” organizations, where information was held private, decisions were taken unilaterally and communication was crippled.

Nowadays communication is key to the wellbeing of employees, consumers and owners, therefore benefiting the organization as a whole, whether it is nonprofit or a for-profit corporation.

External communication

According to the Edelman Barometer of Trust consumers want a dialogue. They want to know what companies are doing and they want to be heard as well. Nevertheless according to the same report, 89% of consumers globally believe companies share only the positive  information about their efforts, while withholding the negative and 71% are confused by the messages  companies use to talk about their  efforts and impacts. Interesting, no?

So if everything is so simple, why companies find it so hard to conform? Consumers apparently don’t really care about innovative communication techniques. According to the Barometer, they still find convenience in traditional one-way communications (on the product/ package (22%), media (21%), advertising (16%), websites (11%), social media (7%) and mobile (3%). Although not all of these channels secure an effective communication, obviously the new media, including social media allows companies not only to deliver their message, but also let their consumer speak, therefore gathering important, timely and cheap information about their products and services. All parties seem to win.

Internal communication

At Points of Light, for the first time I witnessed how communication really works horizontally and vertically. Two weeks ago, our CEO, Michelle Nunn held a lunch with volunteers and civil servants at our nonprofit. This meeting was not only motivational, but allowed anyone to speak directly to the management about challenges they encounter and raise important issues they faced.

Inter-departmentally, decisions are not only communicated at a constant rate, decision making here is a participatory process.  This ensured transparency and allows a healthy dialogue to happen making each employee feel important. An efficient retention and motivation approach.

There is nothing perfect in this world, but surely I will apply certain communication practices learned during my fellowship. I am looking forward for more.

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