At this point, it’s safe to assume that every business across America has been impacted by COVID-19. As your team is navigating this crisis and implementing strategies to best manage it, the value and importance of internal communications strategy is KEY. Keeping those communication lines open is so very important – more so now than probably ever before.
At the same time, bear in mind that everyone is working through unusual, unfamiliar circumstances. Those who typically see 100 emails per day in their inboxes might be seeing double that or more. That said, equally important at this juncture is prioritization of internal information exchanges. Streamlining communication processes will help your team to operate as efficiently as possible during this critical time.
At Fallston Group, we recommend implementing the following general internal communication protocols and guidelines within your business:
- Communicate with purpose. Send updates only when they contain new or time-sensitive information, or answers that the team is relying on and needs NOW.
- Be selective in who receives your messages. Think strategically about the message you are sending and who really needs to see it. Include only those individuals on your distribution list.
- Halt the automatic “reply to all.” Everyone who received a message might need that message. Chances are, not every person on the list needs to receive every reply, in turn. Consider this as you craft your reply and right before you hit the “send” button.
- Keep it brief. Whenever possible, send emails that are concise and easily digestible – a “quick read” approach, per say. At a time when everyone is overloaded with critical priorities, it’s more likely that a quick paragraph will be read than a message that is a full page long.
- Cover more than one topic in a single email, whenever possible. Brevity is key and it is more efficient to send one email that conveys priority information on 2-3 topics rather than a separate email per topic.
- Save the message for the next meeting, if possible. Before you craft a message and hit the “send” button, pause and ask yourself if the information MUST be transmitted via email, at that moment, or if it can instead be communicated at the next team meeting. If it can wait, hold it.
- Assume everyone is grateful. By nature, if someone sends us an email, we are inclined to hit the reply button to thank them for the information they have provided. At this point, we can assume everyone is working hard is grateful for the collective effort. We can cut down on email overload significantly by eliminating replies of “thanks” or “got it.”
We encourage you to adopt and share these protocols and guidelines throughout your organization, so that we can all work as efficiently as possible in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Stay safe. Stay well.