The University of Montana

What would happen?

In Communication, Innovation, Web on March 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Communication challenges bedevil organizations like The University of Montana. Our instinct is to attack communication problems by communicating more—producing more web content, sending more email.

We’ve been building web pages and filling inboxes at an astounding rate for 15 years. Shouldn’t our communication challenges be solved by now?

As Jerry Seinfeld once observed to his friend George Costanza, “if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

George discovered that ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgment made all the difference.

Perhaps you don’t have the guts to abandon your common sense and good judgment when it comes to communication, but it doesn’t hurt to indulge in some “opposite” thinking.

  • What would happen if you deleted half of your departmental web pages instead of doubling the number?
  • What would happen if you removed half the words in every email message? And then removed half of what was left before you hit send?
  • What would happen if you communicated when your audience was ready to hear you rather than when you were ready to speak?
  • What would happen if you communicated as if you were a human being talking to another human being who had a connection to you rather than a faceless institution pontificating to the masses?

As George found out, “This is no longer just some crazy notion. Jerry, This is my religion.”

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