Communication For The Win

Today I had the chance to present our Google+community to my full staff. I’d shared the information via email and our daily bulletin but it was important to me to speak face to face with staff to explain my “Why?”

I felt compelled to get everything said that I needed to say so I actually scripted my presentation. I even timed myself reading it to make sure it would fit in the allotted time. Imagine my excitement when the principal said that an item had been removed from the agenda and I had 15 minutes instead of 5! I used those extra minutes to delve into our new Twitter account and to encouraged staff to consider more social media tools with me, but that’s a post for another day.

Since joining my staff a year and a half ago, I’ve been overly focused on our staff meetings and professional development. I’m not sure why but something about them, the pace, the amount of information, the format kept making me uncomfortable. I’d been in staff meetings before, some are more interesting, some more business but I just had this feeling of being overwhelmed and lost in the crowd. I decided to really explore this and work for a solution.

When I focused on the aspects that were most stressful to me, it all revolved around communication. I saw a lot of hands up waiting for turns to speak, sometimes giving up. I saw a lot of hands never raising. I heard people asking to follow up on previous topics and I heard what just seemed like people with more to say than was coming across or could fit in the time frame. So I tried to consider the “Why?”. Perhaps some people were the type who like to contemplate and phrase their ideas a bit longer. Perhaps some had come in late from duty and missed the beginning, or had to leave early. I just felt like there was a voice in that room that wasn’t getting heard and it needed a place. After a little consideration, I decided to try a Google+ Community. I wanted something I knew everyone could access at least in school and possibly from outside. I wanted something that offered a sense of continuation where topics can be revisited as needed. I wanted to offer people a chance to review other people’s comments to catch up or consider more. It seemed like this community would be a good fit.

So far, I have a about 20 members. Most of the posts are from me but there have been a few comments. It’s a start. My principal agreed to let us extend our main topic of conversation today – PLC plans and schedules – into the community. That’s a big start. I’m feeling empowered because my principal let me take this forward. I’m encouraged because staff seemed receptive. I’m hopeful. I look forward to following up on this in the future but for now, I’m marking this one in the Win column.

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