The ACTE Column: Messagology

Terminology can have many different meanings and interpretations

GEORGE OSBORNE CHOSE to join Twitter on Budget Day, enabling millions of people to quiz one of the most powerful men in Britain. Or for the less enamoured, to vent their spleen and fire a torrent of abuse at him. Regardless of political bent, however, it proves that people increasingly choose to communicate in 140 character soundbites and headlines.

Remarkably, it took three years, two months and one day for the first billion tweets to be sent. There are now 4-00 million tweets sent every day. But what do those tweets say? And what do they say about us?

While some use social media to boast about their little darlings' accomplishments at school, some use it for more serious business.

Years ago, news would break on TV and radio updates. Today, news invariably breaks through the immediacy of social media in our constantly connected world.

Social media doesn't replace traditional information and media channels, but we should not underestimate its powerful place today. In an environment of information overload, it may be considered empowering to practise the art of concise communication to get a point across, so long as we remember it is only one channel of a plethora available in our communications toolkit.

We should, however, remain mindful that what we say isn't necessarily what people hear. Terminology can have very different meanings and interpretations.

Running some business travel education sessions at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi recently, it was apparent that some of the buyers in the audience operated under a very different infrastructure, with different business drivers and goats. They interpreted industry phraseology and processes differently compared to what might be considered standard in the western business travel arena. It proves that testing understanding of our communications is vital to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction to achieve any common goal, including whether you even have a common goal.

Despite the explosion of social media into the fabric of global life, personal interaction remains a fundamental part of successful business to be able to factor and accommodate cultural and infrastructure differences.

Upcoming regional ACTE forums in London, April 30 and October 8; Dubai May 21; Moscow June 17; Stockholm September 19, and throughout Europe, will help identify relevant local market challenges and help understand the business language used to improve global programme performance. Join industry leaders from across the buy-and-supply chain at the ACTE Global Conference in Barcelona on October 20-22 to share ideas, so you can continue to deliver optimum results to your board.

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