March 15, 2012
Communicating in today’s world requires both a new mindset and a new toolset. Like a maestro conducting a symphony, savvy leaders pay attention to the sound, the effect, the and the instruments needed to strike just the right notes.
Some schools have a full time communications person. Others have none. Regardless, a school leader can set just the right tone with a good strategy and a 21st Century set of tools.
New media adds new avenues for communication. These can enhance the mode and the message yet effective communications can still be a problem. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Ron Ashkenas pointed out that even with new communications tools at hand, good communications can still be a challenge. He notes 3 areas where communications may be lacking:
3 Areas Where Communications May Fall Short:
- Lack of Context – People need to know why something is important
- Lack of Questions and Dialogue – People need to be able to question and discuss
- Lack of Connections – People will focus largely on how news affects them
Clearly, Communication aims, encouraging discussion and feedback and relevancy of your message can help you hit just the right otes. Technology today can help!
10 Tools for Leadership Communication
- Microblogging – Create an account on Twitter. Follow other administrators. Tweet out information about your school Explore use of twitter for conferences or meetings for sharing ideas.
- Blogging – Write frequent news updates. Follow other school leaders. Encourage and read comments. Use Google Blogger, Edublogs or create your own.
- Podcasting – Create audio messages for playback on web and devices. Use tools such as Audioboo, Audacity
- Electronic Surveys – Use Zoomerang or Survey Monkey for advanced functionality. Make quality surveys with Google Forms which is free
- Email – Yes email. It is still a common tools used by many. Regular timely updates seek responses and give responses in a timely fashion. HTML newsletters can be pre formatted with a consistent design to add appealing design.
- Learning Management System – Post easy to follow information on organization or school site to reach out to teachers and students. Google Sites and Wikispaces provide free places for sharing school or classroom information.
- School Website – Consistently post updates that are both engaging and informational
- Facebook – Use Facebook to update school community on latest school news, photos and videos
- Video – Use Youtube or other video sharing sites. Broadcast videos about school events
- Google alerts – Set up Google Alerts to stay on top of mentions of your school and other topics of interests to school community.
If you’re a manager, part of your job is to strengthen the communication pathways to, from, and between your people. To do this effectively, take the time to provide context, encourage questions, and stay sufficiently connected to the different ways that people respond and react to messages. Ron Ashkenas, HBR
This is a list you can start with. Many effective tools exist for this purpose. Please add comments or other suggested tools in the comments below. If you wish to tune up your School Communications Strategy, sign up for my 5 Week E-Course ‘School Communications Toolkits for School Leaders‘ offered through Powerful Learning Practice.
National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators – Nets – A
Communications Checklist for School Leaders - TechConnects
Social Media As Listening Tool for School Leaders – TechConnects
One Minute School Website Check – TechConnects
School Websites with Pizzazz – TechConnects
7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Tech – TechConnects
Connected Principals – Blog
Excerpted on SchoolCIO by Nancy Caramanico