Posted by: Kristen Ridley | December 13, 2010

If Virginia was a communicator . . .

LetterI’m sure you remember that famous letter to the editor from little Virginia asking if there was really a Santa Claus. Well, given that we’re into the holiday season, I’ve been reminded of that letter, and I got to thinking what it might have looked like if Virgina happened to be a communicator. Here’s how I think that letter would have looked written, and responded to with a focus on our business, instead of Santa’s business:

“DEAR INTERNET: I am a corporate communicator. Some of my little friends say there are no truly collaborative, honest, two-way communications environments left these days.”

Steve Crescenzo says, ‘If you see it on the internet it *could* be true, but then again who knows who the hell these people are and whether they know what they’re talking about? Anything is possible, but I wouldn’t bet your last bottle of tequila on it.’

“Please tell me the truth Internet; is there a possibility of finding a collaborative communication environment?


KRISTEN, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not approved by the Legal Department. Many corporate minds, Kristen, whether they be a disconnected executive’s or an overworked manager’s, are myopic. In this great universe of ours the communicator is a mere insect, an ant, despite her intellect, as compared with the boundless and screwed-up corporate world about her, and as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth that employees actually WANT to help the company succeed, and the knowledge inherent in creating collaborative, two-way communications.

Yes, KRISTEN, there are collaborative communication environments. They exist as certainly as bad employee publications, and lack-luster intranet sites exist, and you KNOW that they abound and give to your life its highest pain and suffering. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no interactive communication environments?! It would be as dreary as if there were no Corporate Hallucinations blogs to make us laugh. There would be no childlike faith that we could, someday, somehow, convince the IT department to allow communicators to post Flip videos on the company website, no hope of getting the CEO to blog like a real human being AND allowing employees to comment on those blogs, no romance to make writing that 458th boring news release tolerable in this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except from those few, rare employees who email you to tell you they actually READ the employee publication, and, even more astonishing – THEY LIKED IT!!! The eternal light with which the communicator’s child-like belief in real, honest communications being approved and released fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in collaborative communications environments?! You might as well not believe in the Friday night margaritas bitch-sessions with your fellow communicators that make your miserable life worth-while! You might get your merry band of like-minded communicator enforcer-friends to to watch in all the cubicles on the eve of your company publication’s deadline to catch those evil executives who sneak in at the last possible moment, to “improve” your articles, but even if they did not see these grammatically-challenged cretins coming down the cube-farm aisles, what would that prove?

Few communicators see collaborative two-way communications, but that is no sign that they do not exist. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor communicators can see. Did you ever see executives who consistently, and honestly answer questions at all the Town Hall meetings? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not out there somewhere, in other companies. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the communication wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the horrible executive “strategically leveraged core competency based” updates and see what makes the the employees laugh at, and ridicule them, but there is a veil covering the unseen world inside those executives’ heads, which not the strongest communicator, nor even the united strength of all the strongest communicators that ever lived, could understand how in all that is holy they come up with this stuff!!

Only faith, clear-writing, honest evaluations of the business goals, love of good grammar, and the perseverence and patience of Job [also A LOT of martinis!!] can push aside that curtain, and view and picture the beauty and glory of the truly collaborative corporate communications beyond. Is it all real? Ah, KRISTEN, in all this world there is nothing else more real and abiding than clear and honest communications with our audiences.

No two-way collaborative communication environments?! Thank God! they exist, and and they will continue to exist forever so long as there are dedicated, committed [some might say crazy and hopeless, but since this is supposed to be an uplifting holiday message, we won’t talk about that now!] communicators out there determined to convince executives, negotiate with the lawyers, bribe IT, and stand up for the interests of their employees.

A thousand years from now, Kristen, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, those beleagured communicators will continue to make glad the heart of the corporate world with their insistence on adherence to AP Style guidelines, good grammer, proper spelling, and clear, honest messaging that actually says something REAL and USEFUL to employees!

Happy holidays everyone! 😉



  1. I so totally need to believe… thanks, Santa — oops, I mean thanks, K!

  2. Thanks Amy! I choose to believe too – the alternative just isn’t acceptable.

I'd love to hear what YOU think! Please share.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: