Two-Step Your Communication

Ever use someone else to get your message out?

For example, big, multi-location companies sometimes make important announcements through local plant or office managers, rather than at head office. Another example: advocacy groups that ask their members to individually write or call politicians.

Both examples illustrate what's called a two-step communication strategy - getting extra mileage out of communication by selectively using other people to pass on messages.

It's so common we often don't think of it as a distinct strategy. But, it is, and offers many benefits, including: borrowed legitimacy, extended networks, speedy distribution, and unofficial status. Let's review those benefits in more detail, and as we do so, ask yourself how you could apply them.

Borrowed legitimacy: The example of the advocacy group illustrates how you can use third parties (in this case individual voters/members) to give greater credence to a message.

It also explains the testimonials you see and hear in advertising. And, book publishers commonly use several forms of two-step communication, including testimonials, prefaces by well-known or well-respected persons, and book reviews.

In your workplace, some people probably have more influence than others. If you send out a message to the people with influence and ask them to pass it on to others in the organization, the message may carry more weight.

If you're a sales person, you know the value of referrals. Again, this applies the two-step process to borrow legitimacy.

Extended networks: The two-step process can extend personal reach. It's like an old-boys' network that allows us to greatly expand the number of people we 'know'.

Some publishers of free electronic newsletters ask subscribers to pass on copies to friends and colleagues. It's a way for publishers to reach potential subscribers, with an implied or explicit endorsement.

Speed of distribution: Some messages can't be sent out in mass, they need to be delivered individually and personally, but still need to go out quickly. The two-step process can do that.

For example, some associations use phoning trees. Simply sending written notices of meetings may not be enough to get a good turnout. So, one person phones three other members, and those members each phone three other members and so on. If everyone cooperates, phone trees are very effective (in my experience, though, 'if' is the key word here).

Unofficial status: Sometimes, organizations use what politicians call trial balloons, which is to say, they want reaction to an initiative before officially announcing it.

For example, a politician might test the feasibility of an idea by leaking it to the media. If a news story refers to 'unnamed sources,' you may be seeing the two-step strategy at work. It allows the politician to get a reading on the public's mood without making a commitment.

In summary, the two-step process refers to the idea of using third parties to pass on important messages. Conscious, creative use of the process can extend your reach and give your message more impact. That makes it a useful addition to your communication toolbox.

Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at:

In The News:

Does thinking about a networking lifecycle make sense?
I enjoyed a delightful conversation with Stephen Garrison of Pica8 about virtualization in general, network virtualization and the trend towards software-defined networking (SDN). We touched on so many interesting topics that I couldn't possibly get ...


8 Killer Opening Lines To Use At Your Next Networking Event
That's why we challenged three networking veterans to divulge the clever opening lines that will enable you to strike up a conversation with just about anyone, whether you're mingling with hundreds of people at a convention center or a more intimate ...


Dell teams with SDN startup Big Switch on open networking strategy
... and software. The partnership plays into Dell's larger open networking initiative, which steps away from the traditional networking switch model toward an ecosystem of open standards-based network equipment, operating systems and applications.
Dell Advances Open Networks With Big Switch DealEnterpriseTech
Big Switch Networks and Dell Announce Strategic Software, Hardware and ...MarketWatch
Dell To Offer Big Switch Networks' SDN Software On Its Ethernet SwitchesCRN
Light Reading -Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)
all 14 news articles »

New York Times

UPDATE 2-Google social networking boss Gundotra leaving company
Google+ marked the company's most concerted effort to catch up with Facebook Inc in the fast-growing social networking market, but it has struggled to match the popularity of the rival, which has 1.28 billion users. Gundotra said in October that 300 ...
Google Social Networking Boss Gundotra Leaving CompanyFox Business
Google's Top Social Networking Executive DepartsABC News
Google exec & social networking chief Vic Gundotra leaves companyApple Insider

all 79 news articles »

The Herald |

Enterprise and service provider networking port revenues reach $39B
Network World
Network World - Routers, switches and other networking gear became a $39 billion market in 2013, as 40G took hold in the data center and 100G became the new standard for service providers, according to the latest research from Infonetics. Enterprise ...
Networking ports hit $39 bn, 40G booming in data centers:InfoneticsCIOL

all 11 news articles »

Andromeda Improves Networking for Google Cloud Platform
Andromeda offers significant performance improvements without requiring any reconfiguration by Google Cloud users. By combining software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) Andromeda is able to offer distributed denial of ...

New York Times

FCC will seek input on 'pay-for-priority' Net neutrality proposal
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will take public comments before moving forward with a new set of Net neutrality rules that sparked controversy when they were leaked in a news report earlier Wednesday. The FCC will release a proposal soon ...
FCC Proposal Angers Net Neutrality ProponentseWeek

all 628 news articles »

Is Your Networking Device Affected by Heartbleed?
PC Magazine
Heartbleed can also affect the equipment we connect to our networks, such as Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, routers, and access points. As PCMag has noted, Heartbleed is the name of a bug in OpenSSL which leaks information in the computer's ...

and more »

Union Chamber to host speed networking event May 21
Suburban News
You have heard of speed dating, but as a business owner, have you tried speed networking? Meet contacts at the Union Township Chamber of Commerce's April networking event, on Wednesday, May 21, 8:30-10 a.m., at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union ...

Business networking event to be held Thursday in Abingdon
The event will be held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center and is an opportunity for businesses to network and meet potential new clients. News 5 has learned the winners of the first Washington County Business Challenge will be announced ...

Google News

How to Avoid Falling Asleep Behind the Conversational Wheel

Think about the last time you feel asleep behind the... Read More

Lessons from the Wedding Mafia

One of my clients shared a story with me from... Read More

Who Are You and What The Heck Do You Do?

A few years ago, I was attending a family function... Read More

How to Get More Visibility, Increase Your Influence, and Get More Referrals

Earlier today I was helping a client develop a better... Read More

Mother Said - Wash Your Hands

Think health articles are boring? This one isn't, so read... Read More

Land the Ideal Job Using Social Networks

With at least 60% of job-seekers finding employment through networking,... Read More

Unforgettable First Impressions Part 1: Discover the CPI

People like others whom they are like. So if you... Read More

Lesson 15 - Meeting the Prince with More Reputation than Power

The StoryBusiness has a habit of testing us as individuals... Read More

Make Money on the Internet - The Lifestyle Advantages of Professional Marketers

Some of the most successful businesses in existence today started... Read More

Building Business Relationships in a Roomful of Strangers

You approach a stranger at an association meeting or industry... Read More

Five Best Ways To Build A Network

I have been working from home on the internet for... Read More

How to Shmooze

Definition: talk idly or casually in a friendly way Value:... Read More

How Speakers, Exhibitors, Consultants, and Meeting Planners Partner-Generate More Money and Value

? "Make Every Moment Count" is the title of a... Read More

10 Terrific Tips to Talk Your Way to the Top

What is "the top" anyway? According to society, "top" has... Read More

Networking - Facts to Ponder

Right here in Europe, the very last continent to enter... Read More

The A-B-Cs of Networking

In the workplace - and when dealing with workplace matters... Read More

How to Keep from Sounding LIKE Totally Stupid

June is reality check month. Lots of the resolutions have... Read More

Giving the Gift of Your Name (The Networking Factor)

Although, this is about giving the gift of your name... Read More

Are You Sitting With The Right Company?

When I walked into Dallas's famous Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, all... Read More

Effective Business Networking: 5 Tips For Mastering The Art of Networking

The heart of any business is the connection it has... Read More

Ask for Referrals: And Get the Answer You Want!

Why are people scared to ask for a referral? Is... Read More

Effective Networking

The process of finding out about a job, getting interviewed,... Read More

What I Do Is Not Who I Am... The Networking Factor

Ah, the personal touch that continues to make a big... Read More

Which Networking Events Should You Attend?

How does one determine which are the best events to... Read More

Savvy Networking: Grow Your Business and Your Career

Did you know that contacts are the bread of career... Read More