Not so long ago, the era of broadcast media was when information was pushed on us. We had little choice on what we saw or experienced when we were watching training videos…whatever was on the film or in the book, we had little input or reply to. This was known as the era of ‘push’ communication.
Today, the era of digital media is changing all that. We have now more choice than ever on how we manage information.
One of the reflections of a well-formed team is they experience a high degree of ‘pull’ communication within the team. Distinguishing between pull and push communication is important for everyone involved in communication within the team.
So, what’s the difference?
‘Push’ is where communication is forced upon you. ‘Pull’ is having it when you want it, need it and are ready for it.
‘Push’ communications occur when messages are sent in ways that force recipients to react as soon as they are aware of them, like un-prioritised emails, forcing the recipient to swim through all their inbox messages to find the ones of real value. We can improve the ‘pull’ of our communications through prioritisation.
‘Pull’ communication is when the receivers access information when they are ready for it, e.g. research on the internet.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the power and control over what is communicated to us, and we had the ability to assess our own inboxes for the relevant ad important stuff, instead of being driven by the urgent at every corner?
The initial way you can start to drive ‘pull’ communications rather than being ‘pushed’ at every point, is to determine how you will deal with email communications within the team, that is, all internal emails. It requires a change of habits. We all need to agree a medium we will check for urgent messages. Then we need to agree where to post and how to handle important but not urgent information, to make it available on an as-needed basis.
This puts the responsibility on the sender to make sure the message is relevant, easy-to-access and applicable to the recipient.
By changing the way we communicate with others within our own team, we make it easier for them to access and deal with whatever contacts we have with each other.
Think of the ways that your team communicate with each other on a daily basis. Identify if there are ways that you can differentiate between the urgent and the important, so messages don’t get way-laid or deadlines missed. You have more control over this ‘pull’ style of communication, than over any other type.
Head of Training
Originally published: 21 September, 2012