Real-Life, Real-Time Communication: More Than a Function, It's the Central Nervous System of Your Organization

By Landes, Les | Communication World, December 2001 | Go to article overview

Real-Life, Real-Time Communication: More Than a Function, It's the Central Nervous System of Your Organization


Landes, Les, Communication World


Let's face it. In today's complex, fast-paced organizations, communication is just too important to be left in the hands of communication professionals. Communication is not a function anymore--if it ever were. It's the central nervous system of the organization, and the ones that perform best are those that successfully link everyone into a real-time, interactive network for sharing information and knowledge.

Take a look at what is happening with knowledge management--one of the hottest communication crazes to grip the corporate world in recent years. As with many fads from the past, the premise underlying knowledge management is highly relevant. We do need more robust systems to ensure the optimal sharing of data, information and knowledge in organizations. Problem is, the message is getting lost in the spectacle and "programitis" that often accompany the typical management movement. As a result, the imperative for better knowledge sharing is not being translated into basic operating systems that can get woven into the elemental fabric of most organizations. In the end, knowledge management will surely wind up as bleached bones in the desert of management movements that have come and crumbled along the way.

STARING ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION IN THE FACE

What does it take to make the switch from program to process, from spectacle to system? In the case of communication, it mainly takes a reality check. Does it work in real time--or does the "news" arrive two months after everyone already knows the "real" facts? Does it convey real information and knowledge--or is it some contrived and often meaningless version of the truth that has been sanitized or glamorized through the word-smithing of professional communicators at the behest of senior management?

If we want well-informed people, working in high-trust relationships in our organizations, we need to stare that need for reality in the face and determine what it means for organizational communication. For starters, it means that those responsible for internal communication need to make a basic shift away from being media and message mongers toward serving as facilitators of the communication process for which everyone is responsible and in which everyone plays a vital role.

What does that look like in the real world? First and foremost, we have to stop thinking about communication as media and messages and start thinking about it as systems and relationships. What does a real communication system look like? Among the essential characteristics:

* Interaction

* Availability and access

* Speed

* Relevance

* Inclusion

Here are some important considerations about each of those characteristics.

INTERACTION

We have all heard people grumble that the communication in their organization isn't a two-way street--it's all top down. It is easy to sympathize with the intent of their complaint, but it misses a very basic point. If it's one-way, it's not real communication. It is nothing more than message distribution. Even some communication professionals miss that pertinent fact. Those communicators tend to define their roles by the messages they put out and the media they use rather than the relationships that communication must facilitate.

If you want to know whether or not someone is a message-maker or a communicator, here is a quick tip-off. In his speaking or in his writing, does he follow the verb "communicate" with the preposition "to?" If so, it's a good sign that he just doesn't get it. People like that see their role as information providers, which is only half the process.

Real communicators believe that the only prepositions that should follow the word "communicate" are "with" and "about." Real communication is an interactive process, not a directive or distributive one. If the goal is "common" understanding, messages must flow back and forth in a continuous exchange, not the straight line that you get from traditional communication tools such as newsletters, magazines and management memos. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Real-Life, Real-Time Communication: More Than a Function, It's the Central Nervous System of Your Organization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.