Why is communication important?

Why is communication important, the reason is simply because it influences everything you do and everything your company and its people does. Modern research show that managers spend between 60-95% of their days on communication tasks. It is such a big part of our lives that we don’t even see it. But think about it, it is probably easier to list everything you do a day that is not communication related. I challenge you to keep a very detailed diary for a couple of days. List all the things you do. Analyse the diary in a Yes/No kind of way. Yes being communication related task. Then count the entire Yes’s. How many percent of all tasks was it?

Is communication important? Let me share a story with you that illustrates this.

A couple of year ago when I was the MD for a Communication Consultants company in Sweden. One of our largest clients was the city of Stockholm. We where asked to design a communication training program for their middle managers. At the time they employed some 1800 managers and their goal was to have 1/3 of them, 600 managers, attend the training. We looked at a concept of a 8 day training program set up in two day blocks separated by approx 1 month between each block. All in all it summed up into 200 training days during one year. In the planning of the program I did some research within the organisation to find out what kind of topics we would have on the agenda.

I specifically remembered one conversation that I had with a woman. She was between 60-65 years young and had been a manager within the city for many years. When I explained to her that we where planning to design a 8 day communication course, she interrupted me, and said: What could we possibly talk about for 8 days?! We discussed the issue for a half hour and we ended our discussion by going though a list of potential items, where I wanted here to tell me weather or not it was an important issue. She ended our conversation by stating: Do you really think 8 days will be enough?

She realised that almost everything she was doing was some sort of communication tasks. Anyhow, the point to my story is that even though almost everything she was doing was communication tasks, she was not aware of it. When I first asked her she couldn’t for her life understand what we would put on the agenda to fill more than a day or two.

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