Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Communication


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Do use Distribution E sparingly. Few messages need to be read by everyone on campus. Habitual offenders find themselves in the “immediately to be deleted” category. Targeted messages are much more effective. You may want to work with Information Services for help in building distribution lists to fit your specific needs-especially for groups you will want to reach on a regular basis.

Do evaluate the results from your past communication tactics -It isn’t always a good habit “do what you always did before”. Look for strategies and media choices that will improve your communication results. Use your experience to understand what worked before and additional resources to determine what other ways will help.

Do assume that your audience is more knowledgeable than the last time you spoke to them. Audiences evolve, some a little, some more. What changes are affecting your audience? Are they getting older? Younger? More technically aware? There are other factors to learn about. Understanding more about your audience will allow you to communicate in a more relevant manner.

Do Limit the amount of information you provide to your audience in one instance. Give them the basics like benefits and a chance to learn more. This can be a link to more info in an email, details on the back of a letter, or call to action info to email or call (you) to continue learning.

Do Measure your results. If you can be scientific: great. But taking the additional step to review critically how your efforts helped towards success is a crucial step. You’ll learn and then we all will.


Don’t assume communication should only be from “you” to “them”. Two-way communication is usually best. If you can start a conversation, then that will in turn strengthen interest and increase the chance for partnership. There are ways to initiate this. Ask a question, ask for a commitment, or ask for additional ideas.

Don’t limit yourself to one approach. Audiences need to hear your message several times in order for them to take in the message. Use different media, use thoughtful timing planned strategically to reach your audience. An email or two, combined with a print tool, signage, and other communication tools will build strength in delivery of your message.

Don’t assume that spending more money will guarantee good communication results. Resources are helpful but rarely as available as we’d like. Consider relevant messages in combination with efficient delivery methods.

Don’t think you can do it all by yourself. The campus has resources to help. The Communications Resource Web Site is a good start. You can also contact people listed there and get their input.

Don’t stop learning. Communication success gets better when we use the feedback to improve our systems and efforts.