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Communication channels and tools

Consider the variety of communication tools you have - or could have - at your disposal, and think about how you might best reach your target audience. Here’s a selection of popular methods and tools for communication:

Tools Top

  • apps;
  • AV systems for communications in teaching spaces;
  • champions and advocates who cascade information on your behalf;
  • chatbots;
  • email;
  • digital signage;
  • distribution lists;
  • face to face conversations and presentations;
  • faculty / school boards and committees – ad hoc and standing invitations to report;
  • floorwalkers – that is to say people who will walk around your university or college buildings and be available to help people who have questions - for significant IT changes or for major incidents. Floorwalkers can be especially useful if other communications channels are unexpectedly unavailable – for example if the network is down;
  • intranet portals;
  • induction packs – adding information about IT and the IT department into staff and student induction materials;
  • key users and super users - making use of colleagues who are area-specific contacts;
  • leaflets;
  • live chat;
  • posters;
  • RSS feeds;
  • self-service points;
  • service status pages;
  • splash screens/lock screen image and desktop wallpaper;
  • social media;
  • student forums;
  • telephone including interactive voice response (IVR);
  • text/SMS;
  • websites and microsites.

Consultation and approval Top

We would advise discussing your planned comms with colleagues and if possible with a selection of the target audience. Ask how they like to receive news and the extent to which people absorb information differently. Some people may prefer to read information in an email or on a poster, whereas others prefer communication such as a video or demonstration, and some enjoy the interactivity of social media.

It’s also best practice to have an approval process for important or significant communication to establish who gets final sign off before communication is sent. As Emma Barwell from Oxford Brookes University advises in the example at the very beginning of this section, in cases of major incidents the message may need to be sent from someone senior outside of IT Services.