Why Did the (Thundering) Chicken Cross the Road?

(…drumroll…)

Because it’s a 2-way street! (plunk) 

I hear it a lot, do you? About the need for better communication here at Northern. And we’re not unique in this regard. Almost every institution or organization has communication woes…who knows what and when and who else needs to know and how do they know and how do we know they know…

It’s a great irony of modern life that we have more channels for communicating than we have hours in the day but, according to many experts, we’re doing less of it and doing it less effectively than ever before.

Maybe too many options (which we’re led to believe is the solution) is actually the biggest problem.

It’s hard to listen with so many voices competing to be heard. If I’m honest – sometimes I find it difficult to listen. To even one voice. For any length of time.

Communication has always been a 2-way street – sender and receiver. COM 101. But, I think, today more work is required on both sides of the street –  especially the receiving end.

Disseminating information is pretty easy, we can: tweet, vine, instagram, post, text, update, group, hangout, facetime…and then there are the “old-school” options: email, call someone on the phone, or (gasp) actually stop by…in persona – physically…not to mention flyers, posters, television and newspaper ads etc.

Here at Northern we use all of these methods (I’m pretty sure I read smoke signals outside my window the other day) to get the word out about everything from chicken sightings to scholarship information.

Thing is…it’s a 2-way street…so we have to work to stay informed. With so many channels, our work is cut out. We have to make sure we check multiple email accounts, notice posters on the wall, pay attention when folks talk, organize and prioritize, eliminate distractions and read! read! read! mail, messages, syllabi, assignment sheets, forms, bulletin boards, websites…

As my parents used to say at least once a day, “Don’t just sit there…”. Information is everywhere, but in our overloaded lives, it requires an effort to sift and find.

Being an effective communicator requires some elbow grease, especially on the receiving end. Eyes open, ears to the ground, pay attention…because communication isn’t likely to get any less crazy, any time soon. It’s a life long effort to listen, learn, adapt and prioritize.

The next time you hear yourself saying, “No one told me…” ask yourself instead “Why didn’t I find out…”

And if all else fails…open your beaks and crow, chickens! Ask – a full proof way to know.

Some things never change.

Holler Back Ya'll

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