Lots of communicators are smart, and most are sincere.
But that leaves some communicators who are dumb, and some that are disingenuous.
Since I've joined just about every LinkedIn communicators' group there is, I notice that the latter groups are … uninhibited, shall we say.
They ask their dumbfuck, disingenuous questions, and they get no answers—mostly, because their colleagues are too polite to shame them publicly. But because I believe they deserve answers to their questions—nitwits are people, too—I'm starting a semi-regular feature I'm going to call, "Ask The Murr."
The questions, as they actually appeared on LinkedIn, are in bold.
Yes, you’re tired of Yammer, beentheredonethatboughtthet-shirt on Sharepoint and you’d rather report to legal than have to do one more employee podcast. You’re looking for something new. Okay, I’ve got an idea: Start a fucking employee newsletter that actually gives employees some context in which to process the rest of the electronic shit storm you’re so weary of spewing.
Is it possible for an external comms pro to switch over to employee comms? Looking for advice on how to make the change.
Yes, it’s possible. In the same way that it’s possible for a carnival barker to become a novelist. Advice: Find a mentor—a veteran employee communication pro who will punch you in the face every time you refer to “selling” ideas to employees, every time you try to launch an employee communications “campaign,” every time say anything at all that reveals your ingrained orientation to immediate gratification and column inches. And wear headgear, because you’re going to get hit a lot.
Anyone think any trends such as texting will overtake the need to invest in a good website? I don't but some I work with do.
I don’t think you’re a nutty asshole to trouble us with the dumb ideas of your lunch-table buddies, but some of my readers do.
What is your company doing to beat the recession?
Companies can’t beat the recession. That’s why they call it a recession. Let me guess. You’re a slick young marketing consultant trying to drum up business. Dingdingdingdingding!
How do corporate communicators leverage corporate history/heritage for business growth?
Perhaps we should rephrase this question: How does an organization whose people are unaware of its history manage to put one strategic foot in front of the other? How can it claim to have a corporate culture? How can it even claim to exist?
How do you go about reinventing yourself to adapt to the changing marketplace?
I don’t. I hang around dinosaurs and hope to look bleeding-edge by comparison.
Is there a better way to say "you're fired?"
Yes: "You’re not fired."
What are your views on the use of online multimedia in Corporate Communications?
To a communicator who expects an answer to a question this asininely open-ended, I say, “You’re fired.”
What form of social media do you use? What form do you find works the best and in what situation?
Well, where to begin? How about: “You’re fired too.”
And this concludes this inaugural edition of "Ask The Murr," where there are no such things as smart questions.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Oh, David! David, David, David! I was laughing so hard I spit chicken soup all over my monitor, and that was after I choked on part of it. But it was worth it!
Love this new feature! If I might make a recommendation, this one ought to happen on Fridays. By the end of the week, we can appreciate your, um, “unique” perspective to this sort of stuff even better.
Maybe suggest to the slick young marketing dude that fixing the grammar errors in his LinkedIn profile might help him “beat the recession.” Not to be too much of a word nerd, but why would anyone else hire you if you can’t even string together a proper sentence to promote yourself? No wonder he does everything “without spending a dollar.”
I looked at his blog, which includes a list of tips business people have shared about how they are beating the recession. My favourites are the two who say “We act as if nothing is happening” and “We’re acting as if the recession doesn’t exist.” Excellence advice. Good luck with that.
Liz Guthridge says
Love this post/feature!
And so relieved/happy that you didn’t pull any questions from my LEAN Communications Network….
By the way, I like to think this group is a bit different because we have LEAN practitioners in addition to LEAN Communicators. However, I’m sure we’re open to some well-deserved chuckles.
P.S. We all need to laugh more these days. Thanks for goading us!
Eileen B. says
This is hysterical, David.
Ron Shewchuk says
David, I get questions like this now and then. Thanks for the funny, satisfying hammering you’re giving them.
I’m not sure if you or anyone else will get this reference, but your post reminds me of one of my earliest writing influences, Tom McCahill, an automotive journalist who wrote a letters column in Mechanix Illustrated that often featured Tom’s sarcastic thrashings in response to stupid reader questions. Maybe he even knew your dad.
David Murray says
Thanks, all. The feature will be back, by popular demand, as soon as I collect enough dumb questions. Figure 20 minutes or so.
Allow me to be the cold water on ONE issue: Campaigns. I do LOTS of campaigns because it helps our management understand that you can’t just do a single, badly-written memo and KABOOM, you’re all done with that nasty comms stuff. “Campaign” helps them understand that they must continue to communicate. My vote: “Campaigns” are OK.
Eileen B. says
Oh, Amy. We had such momentum going there for a minute before your cold water…but of course, you’re right. (I hate it when you’re right, but whatev.)
David Murray says
Point granted, with the important caveat that what PR people don’t understand is that employee communication is a permanent, ongoing program. If there are campaigns, they go on top of the ongoing conversation; they don’t replace it.