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Thursday, January 10, 2013

6 reasons your nonprofit should be a Big Listener ecialbrite

Whatever you and others might think, high-quality communication is not all about writing, talking, blogging, publishing, and tweeting. Any individual or organization trying to communicate with only those methods will fail at some point, no matter how well-written the document or speech may be.

High-quality communication--actually, all communication--is a two-way interaction. By definition, "communication" without listening is not communication.

That's why the advice in this article is so important and useful--not just for nonprofit organizations but also for all organizations and all individuals. 

Weidinger signals the importance of listening by giving it a proper name, Big Listening. Big Listening is not just listening to what people say on the phone, at parties, in meetings or on street corners. Big Listening is not just reading what people say in tweets, emails, letters or op-ed articles.

Big Listening is an assertive effort to find out what people think and how they feel. It involves asking for comment, encouraging feedback, making it easy for people to express themselves. It involves reducing or eliminating interference and noise in the two-way interaction of communication. 

But it doesn't stop there. Big Listening involves doing something with those comments and that feedback--recording it, evaluating it, considering it and, later, responding to the people who spoke and wrote about actions taken. 

Of course, Big Listening also involves doing surveys and polls, providing comment cards and feedback forms at accessible locations, and using other methods that can be more impersonal.

Weidinger's article describes the benefits of Big Listening and highlights the value of using certain social media tools. 

And building on her comments, I'll conclude this way: Because of social media, organizations and individuals no longer have any excuse to not listen, to not Big Listen. They deserve ridicule, at least, if they don't listen. 

Please note: This article and all articles in my blog include a form for you to comment on what I write. I want you to tell me what you think, and I will respond. 
Weidinger's articles is featured today, Jan. 10, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Good Cause Communications, available at the Nonprofit Communication tab above and by free email subscription.

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