The cold reality is this: You use email too much. When employees are besieged with an onslaught of incoming messages, they shut down and tune out.

Instead, take a balanced approach to using communication channels. Start by understanding the role of each tool in your toolbox. Then put together a multi-channel approach that allows you to manage your messages for greater impact.

Here are guidelines to help you decide which channel to use and when:

Channel   Best when used to...   DON'T use this to...
Email
  • Communicate time-sensitive information
  • Inform employees about action they need to take
  • Target information
  • Provide detailed, in-depth information
  • Share milestones that don't require action
Intranet article?
  • Share detailed information
  • Update employees about a project
  • Show how a project is related to something else
  • Communicate complex or time-sensitive news
Poster
  • Reinforce key messages, events or actions required
  • Communicate one message quickly
  • Inform employees of details or numerous action steps
Digital displays
  • Show upcoming events
  • Share internal recognitions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  • Include in-depth details
  • Send time-sensitive or complex announcements
Video
  • Dramatize, illustrate or highlight concepts and programs
  • Create and build enthusiasm
  • Engage an audience in action
  • Feature in-depth information
  • Communicate complex subjects in lieu of face-to-face meetings
Text message
  • Alert about emergencies
  • Communicate to off-site employees
  • Communicate low-priority messages
Postcard or desk drop
  • Grab employees' attention
  • Remind employees about an action they need to take
  • Communicate FYI information that's not action-oriented
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