For many years, I produced a regular newsletter for a public library. While the library was a first-rate facility, one of the challenges it presented was rivalries between the many departments. The circulation director thought the youth services department received too much coverage, and youth services thought there were too many articles about reference services, and reference services thought too much attention was devoted to events, and — you get the idea. Each department wanted me to make sure articles related to their department mentioned it by name, so there was a clean delineation.


It took some doing, but eventually I convinced them such an approach was a bad idea. When users thought about the library, they didn’t think about the circulation department, or the youth services department, or the reference services department. They thought about the library as a single entity.


I’ve seen similar situations happen in everything from corporations to local government bureaucracies. Employees and managers are so focused on boundaries and battles between departments that they present them as part of their public image. But the public doesn’t care about your internal divisions and dissensions — they just want to do business with your organization.


When you communicate, try to see your organization through the eyes of customers, prospects, users, or whoever you’re trying to attract. Describe yourself the way they would, and you’ll find that you do a much better job of creating connections.