A Sno Ball’s Chance (in Effective Communications) -

A Sno Ball’s Chance (in Effective Communications)

By Diane Dean-Epps

Or, you could call it the Coconut Communication Effect.

Life should be simple.

Things in life we do should be simple.

Things in life we do, eat, feel, experience should be simple.

And maybe make sense along the way. And yet they aren’t simple. And they don’t make sense.

Take my love of coconut, for instance. I love coconut. Simple.

Hostess Sno Balls are made up of approximately 92% coconut. (This is a very scientific calculation.) That’s simple.

However, I don’t like Hostess Sno Balls one little bit. In fact, if they were the last foodstuff left on the Planet Earth I would not eat Sno Balls. Not so simple.

I thought I just said I love coconut. That doesn’t make sense.

See? Simple. Not so simple. (I probably don’t like Sno Balls because the coconut is sulfite-treated, but who knows?)

My love of coconut, and dislike of Sno Balls actually reminds me of communication. Why? Because I’m very imaginative in utilizing metaphors to illustrate a point? Sure. You’re right on that one. It’s also because communication is simple, and yet not so simple. I call this the Coconut Communication Effect.

We all love (translation: engage in) communication in some form.

When you take into consideration the Webster’s dictionary definition that communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior” it’s that “common system” part of the equation that’s the sticky wicket.

Simple. Not so simple.

We have to make sure we’ve established that common system of which our friend, Webster, spoke if we want a “Sno Call’s Chance” in communicating effectively. This is especially true in business. Any labor sector requires level-setting of criteria, norms, and standards in order to establish a common language. The ol’ “who-what-when-where-why-and-how” of messaging is always in play.

Unlike choosing to eat coconut, in Work World we’ve got to take the proverbial big bite, fully engaging all communication channels to achieve efficient information flow.

As a communications warrior who finds yourself leading the charge in fostering rich internal and external communications for your client, you have to be ready to explain organizational communications. Oddly enough, that may be the toughest challenge you face in your role. I want you to know it is possible to speak simply and succinctly on this topic. Have I got a chart for you.

I’m a big fan of visuals, and in the Digital Age never have truer words been spoken than “a picture is worth a thousand words.” For the purposes of this article, a picture is the aforementioned chart capturing four different types of communications that you’ll see below.

It’s simple. Very Simple. And the best part? You can co-opt it as your own, referring to it as “The Coconut Communication Effect.” Or not. My treat. I’m 92% sure it’ll be useful.

About the Author: Diane Dean-Epps is a Communications Specialist and newly certified ScrumMaster—who currently works for one of KAI Partners’ health care clients. Diane is a teacher and novel writer with numerous publishing credits, including MORE magazine, NPR’s This I Believe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Bigger Law Firm magazine, The Sacramento Business Journal, the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, and Sacramento magazine.

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