Thursday, January 18, 2007

Communication Skills

To my mind what we all do here is communicate.
As researchers, we specialize in guessing accurately how a journalist or research source uses words so that we can extract what we want. If we insist on using words that no-one else does - we won't find what we are searching for.

Advisors communicate with clients to understand where they are, where they've been and where they are going. I'm sure if a client doesn't express adequately what they mean by something like "experience" for instance, it can mean the difference between getting a bank loan or not. 20 years in the business and a summer spent looking over someone's shoulder both could be expressed as "experience" and therefore knowledge.

We share information. We with advisors in the field and advisors with clients. This is particularly difficult to do if we have information that is out-of-date or otherwise incorrect. I am frustrated by using tools that are developed and readily available that are largely ignored by those who are meant to be using them. We have an internal website that is meant to facilitate communication between staff here. Unfortunately it does not serve us as well as it could if everyone would only keep their files up-to-date. It amazes me to look someone up, find no pictures, no email address, and dubious other contact information. This tool should be perfect. It is supposed to be maintained by the individual so that information there is current. It takes about a minute to do.

In order to send information through to advisors, we need to know where they are, how to reach them and so on. This is a simple thing. Please take a look at your internal website entry: is it current? If I send you an email at that address, will you get it TODAY? Do you still work at that office? Is that your correct title? Did you move? Can you be reached at that number? If someone is not sure who you are, could they look at a picture and discover that in fact - that is NOT you?

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