POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 28 June 2012, Thursday
“It’s Just Grammar.”
How essential is communication to a corporation?
How important is it for today’s workers to possess communication skills?
The answer seems to vary among the different sectors. There are private corporations, whose revenues depend upon the sales of products, that place such a high value upon communication that they retain high-powered advertising agencies to craft the strategies that enable their message to be transmitted to a vast audience using mass media, thereby providing potential customers with information about their products.
They also hire employees who have good communication skills, both written and spoken, who create their messages for their internal audiences. Often, the employees who have the best communication skills become the spokespersons, receptionists, and greeters – the ones who face the public.
There seems to be a larger gap in this respect when it comes to some public agencies and corporations. The concept of “branding” is almost unknown or haphazardly practiced. Communication and communication skills may not be included in their overall strategic plan. Thus, policy emanating from the top is inadequately cascaded both internally – to their employees – and externally – to their customers or the general public.
Organizations that fail to see communication as an essential aspect of their corporate strategy are likely to transmit messages that are misunderstood by both their internal and external publics.
What is “communication”?
As a concept, it is easy to understand – it is simply the sharing of meaning.
Effective communication, the kind that achieves its objectives to inform and persuade, should be as uncomplicated and unambiguous as possible. Use of jargon, beloved among the business and technical crowd as a symbol of belonging to a special in-group, should be eschewed because it tends to alienate others and is difficult to interpret.
Effective communication is carefully presented and flawless in terms of grammar and style.
Quite often, the number-crunchers within an organization scoff, “What’s so important about grammar?”
Grammar is integral to the use of language, both written and spoken. Language is the tool humans use to communicate. And it is through its communication strategies that an organization shows its face to the public.
If an organization is willing to be sloppy in this respect, then they take the risk that this failing will lead to the public’s negative perception of the organization and its mission and activities.
As a consequence, damage control has to be applied. The cycle continues ad infinitum.
That’s bad for the organization; it dances “one step forward, two steps back”, retarding forward momentum and wasting time by having to apply a fix.
But it’s good for writers and spin doctors – more work for them.
It would be great to see a greater awareness of the importance of communication in the public sector. Among the public agencies that already acknowledge the need for excellent communication skills are Malacañang Palace and the Department of Tourism.
Good communication is so important to the Palace that it formed the Presidential Communications Group, under which are the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (with no less than secretary rank given to its current head, the Presidential Spokesman, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
The Group has spruced up the official Palace websites and launched social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter in order to get its messages to as many people as possible.
Other public agencies such as the Senate and Congress have followed suit.
The DoT relied on the expertise of an advertising agency for its “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” global campaign – our country’s face to the world.
May the excellent example set by these agencies be followed by others; it would be a great service to the public indeed if effective communication by government was the norm rather than the exception. ***