Friday, September 2, 2011

Too Much Information for Hurricane Irene? I Don't Think So

Many Monday Morning Quarterbacks have weighed in and decided that the media gave too much attention to Hurricane Irene, even accusing them of hyping it.

Nonsense. That could not be more incorrect.

In this case, the news media did what all professional communicators are supposed to do: Give their stakeholders the information they needed to cope with a given situation. Certainly, much of the nation was gun-shy after Hurricane Katrina, when many people ignored the warnings and suffered for it. 

Some people complained that the media hyped the flu pandemic of 2010. The feedback afterward was that it was "no big deal." But it was no big deal precisely because of the information that year. People washed their hands, got their shots, made sure their kids got their shots, and followed all the recommended procedures. Good job!

Now take a look at your own communication responsibilities. Do employees in your organizations get sufficient information when it is time to sign up for annual benefits? Is your community fully aware of new traffic patterns when road work is going on? Are your shareholders fully aware of how pending legislation or regulatory decisions, such as from the FDA, will affect your products, and therefore your stock price? Short of panicking an audience, I am not a believer in "too much communication." And I can assure you that many people who were safe after Hurricane Irene hit them believe they got the information they needed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Tweet, Therefore I Am (Notes on Re-entry)

I have just returned from two weeks in Italy, and it is remarkable to see what two weeks away do to your public image. Because I did not have access to a computer, I had no blogs. No Tweets. No press-worthy events. It was as though I dropped off the earth, as measured by my Google Alerts.

However, I did use my BlackBerry to post milestones of my Italian journey on Facebook, and what a difference. Friends and family enjoyed hearing about the meals, the sights and the meetings with family. They were engaged, as measured by their "likes" and their comments.

This brings me back to a concept espoused by the great Seth Godin in his blog post, "The Truth About Shipping." Among other things, he stresses the importance of delivering something every day. "Ship often," he urges. "Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly."

So I am back in the saddle, writing, Tweeting, blogging, prospecting, communicating. While I enjoyed the trip immensely, it was also a timely reminder about the value of output.

I hope to hear from YOU, too!