Send Three and Fourpence - The Need for Clear Internal Communication Channels

Stuart Sinclair - October 30, 2017
Internal Communications

We’ve probably all played “Chinese Whispers”, the party game where a phrase is whispered from one player to another in a line. By the time the final player says it out loud, it’s usually changed beyond recognition, and often makes no sense whatsoever!

This kind of message garbling isn’t just a party game. A famous example is the World War One military message, “Send reinforcements. We are going to advance”. By the time it reached the lines via messengers and crackling field telephones, the message became “Send three and fourpence. We are going to a dance.” (1)

Worth a read: Internal Communication Channels - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Say goodbye to garbled messages

In today’s wireless world of mobiles, emails, texts, messaging and video, we might think such garbled messages have been relegated to history. However, we can all think of occasions where messages might get changed:

  • Phone messages written down incorrectly

  • Information 'edited' from one media to another

  • Answerphone message cut off halfway

  • Uncorrected texts created using dictation or predictive text (!)

  • Emails  “taken the wrong way” by the reader

This is why the clarity of a message is as important as how you send it. Keep it simple and straightforward, and chances are it’ll get relayed in its original form. Of course, if you send the same message directly to everyone at the same time, the opportunity for any ‘reinterpretation’ is greatly reduced.

Talkfreely’s internal communications app allows you to send news, messages, information, notifications to anyone, anytime. Send your message to named individuals, defined user groups, specific departments, sites, or the whole workforce, with a single click. Contact details are all stored on the app too, so you can create groups and be confident that the details are up to date.

Book a demo and discover how our modular internal communication app can  increase employee engagement at your company.

In plain English

Since 1979, the Plain English campaign has edited, rewritten and added their Crystal Mark approval to over 22,000 documents. Their influence has been far more widespread, especially in the language of Government websites such as the HMRC website, which is now very straightforward and to the point. As business leaders, we need to do the same with all our messaging, as these will  often be viewed on a small screen like a mobile phone.

I see what you’re saying

There is another complication to getting your message across clearly. People don’t take in information in the same way as each other. According to the theory of NLP (neurolinguistic programming), people are more open to one of three forms of information:

  • Audio - they like to hear what you say
  • Visual - they prefer to read what you’ve said
  • Kinisthetic - they prefer to experience you saying it

These differences explain why home furnishing giant Ikea uses diagrams for their instructions, and why millions of people browse YouTube for “How to” videos. (Here’s an example of how effective a simple video can be to explain something that is almost impossible to describe clearly in words, in under 40 seconds.)

Using the Talkfreely app, you can send your employees information in any format you like - video, document, audio, image, PDF or scan. It’s all stored on a secure cloud server, so employees can view it any time, anywhere on any connected device.

Communication overload

CC - two little letters that can strike dread into anyone with a business email account! With employees spending up to 20% of their working day tackling emails, the last thing they need are endless, irrelevant, cc’d emails.

Luckily, employee comms is not a TOWIE scenario (The Only Way is Email!). The Talkfreely app allows everyone in your business to share information across the whole organisation without overloading email in boxes. The app organises and stores the information so it’s quick and easy to employees to find what they need, when they need it, and on any device.

(1) In case you’re wondering, ‘three and fourpence’ was three shillings and four pence (4d) in pre-decimal money. The average wage in 1914 was between 26 shillings 4d and 34 shillings 4d a week. A loaf of bread cost 1d, as did a pint of milk, with a dozen eggs 8d and a pint of beer was 3d. Those were the days…

Employee Engagement App Demo