Curious isn't helpful

Sandy is the poster cat for curiosity. A visitor comes to the door and she pops out to see who has arrived. Someone opens a closet and she darts in to investigate. A box arrives and she jumps on the dining room table to take a look.

Employee communicators tend to be naturally curious, too. A case in point: Recently facilitated a writing workshop for a team of communicators at a financial services company. In one exercise, breakout teams were given content about a topic and asked to determine what additional information they’d need to write an intranet article. Each team then needed to decide what the article’s big idea should be.

We ran into trouble as soon as the exercise began. The problem? Communicators were completely engaged. My hidden agenda had been to illustrate the challenge of making obscure content meaningful for employees. But these communicators found value in even the dullest topics.

In other words, we’re too curious. We need to remember that most employees aren’t like us. They’re not inclined to read (or watch or participate in) something just because it’s new or different. Employees want the answer to two essential questions: “What does this mean to me?” and “What do I need to do?”

So, unless you’re communicating to cats, interesting is not enough. What matters is making your content immediately and obviously relevant.
 

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