The Importance of Closing the Loop

When people ask for my help with communication, they often begin by asking how to broadcast their messages. Only after I ask whether they are interested in feedback from their stakeholders do they remember communication is supposed to be a two-way street.

As you plan your communication, whether you’re launching a massive marketing campaign or sending an all-employee email, consider whether you’re inviting your audience to respond (and be sure to create a mechanism for them to do so).

“How?” you ask. Well, if nothing else, be sure to include contact information at the bottom of press releases, blogs, emails, and other communication tools. Then, consider surveys (formal and informal, online and in-person). Keep surveys short if you want responses. Also, if you are part of a large organization, check your website to see whether it has a search function and/or directory listing. Try to imagine how outsiders would search for information, rather than using your internal corporate structure to organize information.

Basically, you can’t go wrong if you put as much effort into listening as you do into getting your message out.