Ill Communication

13 September, 2007

Communication is a skill not possessed by all. For those who struggle to communicate clearly and persuasively, there are fortunately numerous courses, seminars and conferences available to help. However, I wouldn’t recommend the following event, to which I was invited last month. Here is the invitation email in full:

Corporate Communication Conference
“Becoming a crisis prepared, zero communication barrier, and positively reputated organisation”

1st & 2nd October 2007

Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Philippines

Dear Mr Tim Russell

Effective communication internally and externally can generate many business opportunities and avoid being caught unprepared during times of crisis. Preparedness is also crucial for your organisation to direct or shift strategies at the same speed at which external events are occurring.

This Corporate Communication Conference will address the main concerns and discuss on the latest issues pertaining Corporate Communications. You will hear successful communicators sharing their experiences on setting up, implementing, and accessing an effective team. Listen to what they have to say on how to deal with the media in both Philippines and other countries in the region. Gain productive benefits on managing crisis and using technology to facilitate communications for your organization.

Key Benefits that you will gain by attending this conference:

1)       Measuring and assessing the performance of Corporate Communications

2)       Increasing stakeholder’s confidence by enhancing the effectiveness of your Corporate Communication strategies

3)       Getting prepared for a crisis and developing an effective Crisis Communication Plan to counter it

4)       Elevating the transparency of your organization by understanding the role that Corporate Communications plays in Corporate Governance

5)       Capturing the media’s attention and successfully maintaining good rapport with them

Where do I begin? With their creative coining of the word ‘reputated’? The unfathomable phrase ‘accessing an effective team’ (‘access’, like ‘leverage’, frequently and incorrectly used as a verb)? The almost metaphysical concept of ‘Elevating the transparency of your organisation’? The numerous grammatical mistakes, which indicate that the company organising the event can’t even afford a proofreader?

I could mention all of these but instead I will merely focus on the fact that a company organising a conference about corporate communication can’t even put together a coherent email explaining the content and purpose of the event, and on the damage to a company’s image that can be done by bad communication such as this.

I organise 2-3 events per month and know full well the importance of clearly communicating the content and purpose of each one. If the agenda isn’t clear, people will not register. Or maybe they’ll think they’re going to get something different, register, and then complain when the event fails to meet their expectations. Either way, my company’s reputation suffers. We would become, as the author of the above email might say, negatively reputated.

I haven’t named the perpetrators of the above assault on the English language but I did reply to them personally suggesting that, if they want to teach businesses how to communicate, they should teach themselves first. I have yet to receive a reply.

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