Effective Communications – Get Your Point Across with SMCR!

– Jim Hartigan

Successful managers today MUST be able to effectively communicate. Here at Orgwide, we excel in helping our clients more effectively communicate their messages up, down, and across their organizations. The Orgwide team takes pride in “standing on the shoulders of giants,” which means we study and follow the experts – in order to deliver top drawer results for our clients. When it comes to improving communications effectiveness, I have found that David K. Berlow described an effective communications process very succinctly in his book The Process of Communication. Berlow’s SMCR model contains four (4) components — Source, Message, Channel, and Receiver. Understanding each, and identifying any existing barriers, will help you improve the effectiveness of your communications.

The first part of Berlow’s model is the Source. This is where every communication starts. Determining the ideal source for each communication was an integral first step. Understanding the acceptance to the source (credibility, perception, etc.) of the communication and then selecting the appropriate source (My superior? Me? A peer or subordinate? Perhaps an outside party?) is an important foundation to the ultimate acceptance and understanding of your communication. At the end of the day answer the question: “WHO” should be delivering this message?

The second stage in the model is the Message. Berlow points out that this is not only the content, but also the packaging. Language, music, graphics, and non-verbal cues all are part of the message and either enhance or detract from the source’s delivery. This is the “WHAT” – from the content to the environment in which it lives and is delivered.

The third component in the model is the Channel. This is a critical component, because a poor choice will result in a failed delivery – and understanding – of the message. The Channel is the delivery vehicle for the message; face to face, telephone, email, newspaper, radio/television, letter, poster, or social media. Often, successful communications involve multiple channels – tailoring the message not only to the audience, but also to the various channels deployed. This is the “WHERE” when thinking of your communications plan.

The final stop in Berlow’s communication’s model is determining the targeted Receiver of the message. The receiver is the targeted audience for your message. Understanding the receivers readiness for the message including their attitude and perceptions as well as their ability to consume the message (reading, hearing, seeing abilities) are all key considerations.

Understanding and determining the appropriate Source, Message, Channel, and Receiver is critical for all different types of communications, including:

  • Written – from external press releases (pre-opening announcements, staff changes, announcement of various partnerships and promotions, etc.) to internal memorandums, emails, newsletters, text messages, and “chat” technology. Successfully utilizing both formal and informal written communication depending upon the audience and the message is critical.
  • Oral – Speaking with media, employees, vendors, customers, and ownership groups, as well as conducting meetings, delivering training classes, making presentations, giving lectures and speeches. You can be comfortable speaking to one person or thousands when you’ve carefully considered the SCMR beforehand.

Over the past 5+ years, the Orgwide team has written hundreds of blogs on various business related subjects using the SCMR model to ensure the effectiveness of OUR communications. Consider:

  • Source – Orgwide has multiple authors as the source for our blogs. Our team has a well established reputation in the training industry and the objective of our blogs is to provide value to our readers while building awareness and credibility in our brand name.
  • Message – the messages for our blogs are important – and timely – business issues, including:
    • 1.Instructional Design
    • 2.Adult Learning Principals
    • 3.Effective Work Place Communications
    • 4.Team Member Satisfaction Surveys
    • 5.Competency Models
    • 6.Job Knowledge Testing
    • 7.Performance Management Processes
  • Channel – We deploy a multi-channel approach to gain maximum reach for our blogs. The blogs are published on our website (www.orgwide.com) with an email announcement to a targeted list of clients and potential clients announcing the new content. Additionally, each blog is featured via our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Occasionally, we’ll also be picked up by leading online industry publications.
  • Receiver the target for our blogs are past, current, and potential clients. The blogs are written to appeal to learning and development professionals across multiple industries.

If you will plan ahead and follow Berlow’s model carefully considering your message’s Source, Message, Channel, and Receiver you will most certainly improve the effectiveness of your communications. If you’d like a fresh look at your communications plans – give us a call. We’re here to help!