Flow-Down Communication

May 26 2019
By: Terry L. Mathis

Did you ever play that party game where you whisper a message to the person next to you who then, in turn, whispers the message to the next person until the message has gone around the entire room? The group then compares the original message to the ending one to find that it has changed significantly. That is a game many organizations play regularly in their safety communications. The organizational leader tells the massage to direct reports, who tell it to their direct reports, who tell it to the supervisors, who tell it to the workers. By the time it gets to the workers (if it actually does), it has often changed or at least lost the emphasis that the leader wanted it to have.

In an era of so many great media for communication, why does the leader not get the message directly to everyone? Flow-Down Communication Video, webinars, social media, and many others can make this happen. When it does, everyone hears the same message from the same person with the same tone and emphasis. This also keeps the leaders in front of the workers in a way that creates greater familiarity and cultural closeness. Leaders: lose your technophobia if you have it, and embrace communication media to help you reach everyone in your organization and align their knowledge and focus.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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