Blog: Frank Kenna 

Frank Kenna (bio)
President and CEO
The Marlin Company

Monday, 29 April 2013

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

The headline above, a favorite of Warren Buffett, is a quote from Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet and philosopher.  Buffet refers to it when talking about reading annual reports but not realizing what they say at first.   I think it's also a good one to consider when thinking about what your employees "see" when they read your workplace communications.

Think about it: when employees look at your digital signage what do they see?  More importantly, what do they remember?  Because it's all about information absorption and the resultant change of behavior.  With that in mind, here are some points to consider in your communications:

* Does your digital signage have content that changes on a regular basis?  And by that I mean fresh content each day.  If it doesn't, your employees won't even see it after a while, no less remember anything.  If you had a TV in your house playing the same commercial over and over again day after day, would you pay any attention to it?  Of course not.  In fact, you'd probably want to throw a brick through it.  Don't alienate the people you're trying to educate.

* What are you posting in your digital signage that employees actually want to see?  Let's say your most important recurring issue is getting corporate announcements in front of employees.  Keep in mind that they won’t pay much attention if that's all you post, even if it does change daily.  There's got to be something in it for them.  So spice it up with some fun and interesting stuff like sports or entertainment news that will attract attention.  Then they'll read your announcements.

* Repeat your message in fresh formats.  For example, if your company has a change of direction that you need to communicate, one memo or PowerPoint won't do it.  You need to repeat the message using different methods and timing, such as a memo this week, a photo of the CEO along with an article next week, and projected sales figures the next.  

* Consider your communication strategy prior to actually starting to communicate.  How important is this particular subject? How much time do you have to communicate it? What methods will you use, how often will the message change, and what's the actual schedule?

Just a little thought and planning will make your employees really "see" your message, not just look at it and instantly forget.

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