In order to get you message across to your colleagues it is also important that the way you get the message across is just as important as its content.
To start with, it is important to understand what real communication is and Hall (2008) describes four key factors:
- Information is present;
- There must be more than one party in the exchange;
- The medium used for the exchange of information must be appropriate;
- The final message must be relevant and understandable to the receiving party.
As it can be seen in the above points, the final point is what truly determines whether the communication is truly effective or not. It is also obvious that point 3 does strongly affect point 4.
The next step is how to shape your message and you may recall that I mentioned earlier that the delivery of the message is just as important as the content. You need to consider the basic components of communication which consists of audience, purpose, message, intended action, and key take-away. Each of these components are fundamental to successful communication. Hall (2008) provides guidelines for each.
Audience: Who is the primary group(s) you are going to address, and what is the most appropriate medium(s) to reach them?
Purpose: What is the primary purpose for this contact at this particular time? Is your purpose clearly defined in your mind?
Message: What is the key message you want them to know, and why is it important to them? Is it relevant and understandable for your primary audience? Why would they want to take their time to pay attention to it?
Intended Action: What action do you want them to take after this communication (if any)? What action do you not want them to take?
Key take-away: What is the last thing you want to remember and possibly share with their colleagues? What is the sound bite?
Here is some further advice from Harrison (1998):
- Approach teachers and heads of departments themselves to give advice and to offer a personal insight into how you can help them. You will find that they will be more responsive to your advice if you do this;
- Rouse the interest of the listener in order to get the message across;
- Ensure that the advice you provide gives the advantage of power or status to the listener. Here is an example of what you could say: “I’d like to show you how to drop DRAW files into PenDown after school. Your children will be able to produce illustrated accounts of their outing for display on parents’ evening”;
- Present their information in such a way that it requires action upon which others will rely. ‘Perhaps the Yr 3 and Yr 4 teachers could bring some computer generated art work to the next meeting’.
- Provide the opportunity for those teachers who are charged with the responsibility of promoting curricular areas to their colleagues to choose the appropriate messenger. For example, ask the head to get teachers to label their work for parents’ evening.
- Choose the situation carefully in order to predispose the listener to being receptive. For example, wait until they are back in their rooms before school or if in a larger school, they may have their own department rooms. Avoid trying to give them advice on initiatives if they are on the way to the staff room.
Finally, as the ICT coordinator don’t fall into the lure of using emails or phone lines to communicate to other staff. Just because we as ICT leaders may not be afraid of it don’t overuse this technology. Providing a personal approach to how you communicate will go a long way.