10 April 2013

Pre-Op Your Communications

By Kelly O’Connor

I recently had minor surgery. While sitting in the pre-op room, I was eavesdropping on the conversation among the nurses and the anesthesiologist in the hallway. Mine was the last surgery of the day and the nurses were encouraging the anesthesiologist to move a little quicker to get me into the operating room so they could start to close the surgery center. The anesthesiologist’s reply was “the most important part of my job is the pre-op calculations and medical history. You do not want to rush me on this part of my job. I will take her back to the operating room when I feel that I am prepared to do so.”

When creating communications, you may sometimes feel pressured to speed up the process. Rush to meet a deadline. Race to get something “out there.” In some circumstances, the urgency is required. However, sometimes, it’s self-inflicted stress.

The most crucial steps in the communication process are to understand the objectives and strategy, identify target audiences and develop key messages. You could call it the “pre-op” of a communication campaign. Since communications are a reflection of your organization, your department and sometimes of you personally, why rush through pre-op?

The next time you’re working on a communication, I encourage you to take the time to consider your objectives, strategy, audience segments and key messages before you start writing and producing materials. If someone tries to rush you, stop to consider whether it’s worth the risk to rush through the pre-op process.

Personally, I’m extremely grateful to my anesthesiologist for standing her ground and taking her time. I may have been 30 minutes late going into the operating room, but darn happy to wake up afterward.