George Bernard Shaw wrote “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” In Ghana today, Shaw’s statement continues to hold true for many of our organizations, whether private or public, for profit or otherwise. As the world has changed and communication technology has transformed how we speak to each other, it is a sad fact that many organizations in Ghana have failed to take advantage of the new communication tools available to them.
Organizations in this country, including our government, must grow to appreciate the value of modern communication technology in maintaining constant communication not only with their stakeholders, but also with the general public. Organizations need to not only appreciate the value of communication, but the many different tools, including modern ones that can be used to achieve this feat.
Constant communication allows any organization to keep in touch with not only its stakeholders but the general public, assuring them all that business carries on and improving their brand image. This allows any organization to build goodwill with the public and especially its stakeholders and customers. Communication is especially a necessity for the public organization, in particular the government.
Perhaps Ministers of Parliament in Ghana would be able to better prove their usefulness to their constituents and justify their role as ‘representatives of the people’ by finding innovative ways to communicate with their constituents rather than relying on the odd personal tour or newspaper article on some good deed of theirs.
As stated in the opening, many organizations in Ghana operate under perhaps the illusion that they are communicating well when in fact they are not. Ask yourself: When did you last receive an e-mail from your own or your child’s school? Or when was the last time you heard anything from the MP of your area about his/her activities, whether by means of a website, e-mail or Facebook page?
The fact is many of our organizations and businesses today fail to make use of the changes in technology that are available. It is clear that Ghanaian organizations know and utilize well traditional mass communication tools such as television, radio and print media. However, many organizations in Ghana still lack functioning websites and in many offices around the country most in-house or external communication is primarily (and usually solely) by paper and not e-mail. Two weeks ago this column focused on the benefits businesses can derive from the use of social media and this ties in well here. As stated then, many Ghanaian businesses fail to see the value of social networks as a communication tool and as such take no advantage of them.
Would it be a bad thing if our MPs had functioning websites and Facebook/Twitter pages where their constituents could interact directly with them without going through an army of bureaucrats? Would it be a terrible shame if offices in the country started to rely less on paper and more on e-mails or Skype conversations for internal communication? (I’m sure the trees wouldn’t mind.) All these are perfectly possible avenues of communication so why don’t we take advantage of them?
One modern communication tool that seems to be gaining a lot of traction is that of Mass Messaging. DreamOval runs a mass messaging service (MyTXTbuddy) which is proving very popular among many clients, from large organizations such as banks to individual consumers who make use of this medium to send bulk messages to a large number of people. If you’ve ever received an SMS from your bank or church it is likely it originated from such a service.
The use of mass messaging and other technologies shows that at least some organizations are picking up on the benefits to be offered by modern communication technology. It is only hoped that more organizations in Ghana will pick up on these trends and leverage them to achieve their organizational goals.
Executive, Product Evangelism and Media Relations
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