Push communications: Getting information out the right way


As we’ve covered previously, push communications are the act of sending a one way message that does not require a response, or at least not an immediate one. In a business setting, you’re likely to interact more with push communications than any other type of communication, simply due to the prevalence of email and memos. For today, I’ll touch on when you want to be pushing out information, when you don’t, and how this type of communication combines with interactive and pull communications.

When should I be pushing a communication?

Depending on your position, your boss and your organization, this question may be answered for you to a large degree already. Perhaps you need to send a weekly report to the directors. Maybe monthly townhalls require you to speak in front of your staff. Or if you have the type of boss who wants to know every little thing you do, maybe you need to notify them by email every time you’ve completed a task.

If you haven’t been told when to send out communications though, then there’s a few ways to help you determine when a push communication is a good idea, and they typically revolve around three things.

  1. Who’s your audience?
  2. How important is the communication?
  3. What is the urgency of the communication?

Each of these factors matter for not only how you decide to communicate, but also when. Bosses, depending on their personality, may either want to know everything your doing all the time, or prefer to only receive updates when its either important or urgent. Staff, on the other hand, should have communications crafted for them so important messages come across with the right message, while urgent communications are put where they will see them most quickly.

In a future piece, I plan to break down all the different kinds of push communications you can use for different purposes. But to be succinct here, some important messages you save for the Town Hall at the end of the month because you want them to hear it from the horse’s mouth, emotion and all. Other urgent messages may require an email to all staff, or someone running across the room shouting it out for all to hear. It may seem obvious to some, but if you don’t use the right medium for your message, the message gets lost.

When should I not be pushing out a communication?

As I think most of us have learned from social media by now, the world doesn’t need to know what you had for lunch every day.

What that translates to in a business setting can be a little harder to understand, but it’s the same idea. Are you about to send that email just because you have something to share, or does it convey an important message that someone needs to see?

At my previous place of employment, some departments would send their monthly reports and they were full of interesting statistics and action items they were working on that were relevant to the whole company. Meanwhile, other departments were sending out four reports a day that had literally nothing noteworthy in them, but they sent them so you knew they were working.

While that dynamic is largely decided by whoever sits at the to top of the department and you may not have a lot of say in how often you’re required to communicate, the principle can apply in how you manage your personal communications, and how you manage your boss. If you aren’t required to communicate constant data on what you’re doing, make the most of it and only send out communications when you have really impactful progress to declare, or important points to make. As you probably know, the people who show up least in your inbox make the most impact.

But if your boss is a bit of a micromanager, absolutely flood them with messages, and do it in ways that give them what they want. If they are going to hover over you making sure you do everything right, put on a show for them, and not only will they be more impressed, but you’ll get more breathing room once they’ve had enough.

How does this tie in with interactive and pull communications?

Push communications should be tied in with nearly all of your pull communications, and a large number of your interactive communications.

As I touched on last week, any formal interactive meeting should be preceded by and followed up by a push communication, with an agenda and meeting notes respectively. That helps people get prepared for what will be discussed, and then have a follow up to remind them of what action items were discussed.

But similarly, you need push communications to announce when you have new pull resources available for the company. You need push communications to announce upcoming push communications, like an email reminding everyone of an upcoming town hall.

Push communications aren’t just your way of communicating information after all, but they are also the way you publicize and advertise for the things your company needs to focus in on, like company culture, important initiatives and big achievements. If there’s anything that you want to make sure people know, you need to find a way to push it out somehow.

Next week, we’ll be looking at the information you don’t want to be bombarding people with, and how you can make it readily available with pull communications.