Engaging with a receptive audience

Employee communications channels

Management cascade

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
These regular meetings offer a great potential channel for reaching an already-engaged audience Specific DSM teams and departments A message that comes via management will often carry more weight and trust – plus you get instant feedback You need to persuade the relevant manager to feature your message – and brief them well Yes – it’s possible for you to present in a ‘guest’ role if the manager agrees Try and include a clear call to action at the end of your presentation to get good feedback

What is this channel?

One really effective way to get your message across is to get it onto the agenda of regular management meetings. You could provide the meeting owner with your content and ask them to present it; or ask for a timeslot in their agenda and do it yourself. This is a proven channel with a receptive audience.

What and when is it typically used?

Think about your audience; can you share your messages properly and reach them via this channel? Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. Employees tend to trust and engage more when the message comes direct from their managers.
  2. If you present the content yourself, you get instant feedback.
  3. A great opportunity for dialogue and building rapport.

Challenges

  1. Everyone is busy: will the manager actually find time to discuss your message during their meeting?
  2. Do they see the relevance and buy into your topic?
  3. Is the manager able to adapt the message to make it relevant for the team? Are you?
  4. If presenting yourself, you need to really know your audience.

How to use this channel

  • Find out the relevant meetings to tap into.
  • If smaller in scale, just ask if you can join an upcoming meeting and present your message yourself.
  • For bigger meetings, make sure the people managers have the right information upfront to properly cover the topic on your behalf. For example, you can share background documents with key messages and FAQs - or even plan a short prep meeting with them.
  • Investigate which managers can best help you. Rather than targeting senior leaders, you may be better off reaching out to team-leads, for example. Just be sure to align upfront with the middle and/or higher manager.
  • Inform the respective management layer that you would like their support in getting a message across - and tell them where they can find more information, ask questions and provide feedback.

Things to keep in mind

  • Provide an FAQ to support the manager (just in case questions pop up).
  • Tell the manager what you want them to achieve for you.
  • Add a clear call to action: (eg, ask the audience to share the three points they liked most or least about your topic; and then ask the managers to share this with you).
  • You could even create a SharePoint environment covering the basic information on your program, including FAQs and a slide deck with speaker notes.

KPIs for this channel

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask people managers how well equipped they felt to deliver your  message. For bigger programs with many managers you may consider sending a short survey first and follow up if needed.
  • If you presented yourself, ask for some quick feedback at the end of your meeting.
  • Survey the participants to see how well they understood the message.
  • Try the informal approach: if you’re physically together, ask casually at the coffee machine what they thought.
  • If you ask for a meeting report-out, the quantity & quality of replies will give you a good idea of how well your message was received. 

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

  • SharePoint

    The perfect ‘digital destination’ when used for providing comprehensive content on a given topic.

  • Townhalls

    Great for rallying the troops and communicating big/important changes (usually via a senior leader).

  • Virtual Meetings

    Ideal for delivering the personal touch when a larger group of people can’t get together physically.

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