1/19/2006

Is it Time to Try a New Approach to an Old Problem? Last night while having dinner with a friend who works for a major technology company, she shared with me her concerns about how hard it is to get the hundreds of people in her organization to tune into twice-monthly teleconferences. The information being provided could help them do their jobs more effectively, so why couldn't they find an hour every couple of weeks to learn something that would help them sell more? I suggested she offer the educational sessions as a podcast in addition to the teleconferences. We live in an on-demand world where people have become used to getting what they need on their own schedule. It's a lot easier to accommodate people's work styles than it is to insist they accommodate your delivery method. Podcasts are a great solution, especially for remote workers, a sales force that's often on the road, and people who have long commutes. I live in Atlanta where traffic is so bad, it takes a while just to get out of my subdivision, never mind drive a substantial distance. I often use my car as a "university on wheels." Since I am usually alone while crawling along I-75 wondering why we have HOV lanes, I have plenty of time to learn something new. I am not very likely to pick up a cell phone and call into a teleconference or even a recording of the previous day's teleconference; however, I'm very likely to download onto my iPod something I want to learn more about and plug it into my car stereo. I'd rather use the hour at my desk for something I can't do while driving (like, take a nap!). My friend saw my point, but expressed the concern that a podcast could reduce the number of people who call in, thereby reducing the number who ask questions and actively participate in the discussion. Here's my take on that: people who are interested in participating in a live discussion aren't likely to be the same people who want to download a podcast. Besides, one doesn't have to be a part of the discussion to gain value from it. Listening to what others ask is a valuable part of the learning process. Consider your own business. Are you so stuck on doing things the way you've always done them that you're reluctant to try something new? Do you too easily dismiss new technology because it doesn't appeal to you personally? Relevance requires us to be dynamic, to look for ways to be fresh and appealing in the moment. Don't discard tried-and-true tactics, but always look for ways to integrate new communication vehicles to deliver your messages. It isn't likely you'll ever find the magic bullet that solves all your communications challenges. That's why you need to have an entire arsenal at the ready.

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