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Communication vs. Communications

Are you more focused on communication or on communications? That little “s” at the end of the word can make a lot of difference in how we approach our work and how others view our role. Communication refers to an ongoing process and has an emphasis on strategies that deliver meaning and purpose. Communications refers to individual messages and has an emphasis on various tactics to deliver them.

The difference between communication and communications is the difference between a strategic and a tactical approach. In internal communication, it could be the difference between creating and enabling authentic, ongoing dialogues with and between employees, and simply imparting information and telling employees what to do. Here are some other key differences between the two approaches:

CommunicationCommunications
Focused on getting through.Focused on sending out.
Seeks to influence and include.Seeks to command and control.
Communicates what and why.Communicates what.
Seeks to win hearts and minds.Seeks to win minds.
Messages are integrated and coordinated.Messages are fragmented and one-off.
Feedback is built into the process.Feedback isn’t integrated into the process.
Dedicated to meaningful outcomes.Dedicated to measurable outputs.

Employees in most organizations could use a whole lot more communication and a whole lot less communications.

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