Dear Manager,

As I suggested in a recent issue of INTERPERSONAL, the timely and accurate flow of information is crucial for all knowledge-based management – we can never have enough! While I have touched on the flow of information FROM our associates and customers, there is equal or greater value in the flow TO our associates and customers!

A challenge for all management is meeting the need, and finding the discipline, to share this quality information. Are you satisfied with the level of information you currently provide to your sales associates? We all agree that we have information that needs to be shared. Is this being accomplished by design, or by default? Have you found an individual talented enough to effectively interpret the meaty topics that will provide the broad-based knowledge desired by your field associates? Allow me to speak from experience: writing a consistent and informative product is very difficult! Dare I ask . . . . . . . .


We have all seen in-house newsletters come and go. While they are usually introduced with great fanfare, initial enthusiasm seems to fade after a few issues, once again creating an information wasteland. How much information is too much?

More important than content alone, the newsletter must have the ability to convey its thoughts effectively from its reader’s perspective. Without this element, newsletters are simply scanned and tossed aside. We no longer have time for a product that does not inform and inspire us. Topics that will consistently sustain interest in the field include:

Field tested issues that provide specifics related to your products.
Timely product updates with a focus on new introductions.
Detailed examples of your associates’ successes.
Encouraging fellow associates to explain productive concepts.

While most in-house newsletters contain valuable information, many simply become a means of self-advertising. To consistently hold your reader’s attention you must:

• Insure accuracy of all information provided.
Address miscalculations and decisions that simply did not work out as planned.
Limit over-promotion; fight the urge to “rah-rah.”
Balance empathy and reality with the many successes that deserve emphasis.
Develop an entertaining theme and style to the letter.


One of the most creative approaches to the theme and style of a newsletter was that of a company owner I know who recruited his long time friend, Uncle Jack, to assume the position of Sales Manager and “Company Spokesperson.” Uncle Jack was admittedly from another place in time – an era of daring do – yet still had his own way of effectively sharing his message.

Jack was from the old country where they say, “Let’s get down to brass tacks!” Jack was never reluctant to make his point in the most direct and fearless manner possible. No Sales Manager in their right mind would have had the courage to suggest what Uncle Jack got away with promoting; his favorite phrase being, “For crying out loud, what in the world is going on here?!”

You may have realized by now that Uncle Jack was really the owner’s imaginative approach to gaining the attention and inspiration of his sales staff. Jack’s tongue-in-cheek tirades were not just entertaining. Using Uncle Jack, the owner created a vehicle to address challenging issues that would have been considered too direct or inappropriate presented any other way. Jack eventually retired, but is called back on occasion to share his candid views.

Newsletters should be founded on timely information, quality topics that are easily incorporated at field level and an entertaining approach that maintains the reader’s imagination. To answer an earlier question, you can never provide too much information or have too much contact with your field staff, as long as you are providing them with a quality product.

If you have failed with a newsletter in the past, you have only failed in its fundamental concept. The need continues, and your participation is essential to a well-informed and productive staff.


There is no greater means to create immediate impact for your sales team than a well organized and well orchestrated sales meeting. If you are looking to gain momentum with shared information, this is a great option. I have attended many of these meetings, and have noted aspects that will provide a productive gathering for all participants:

• The level of planning and the organization of your topics should be obvious. Provide a solid agenda to participants that establishes priorities for the meeting. If a lack of focus and preparation is detected, the question will be asked: “Who called this meeting?”

• Address difficult topics up front. Be sure to assume responsibility for areas that are within your ability to improve. Discussing difficult topics establishes your awareness of their concerns, and may open doors for further discussion of more sensitive issues.

• Recognize individuals, as well as the group, for their effort and success. Top performers never seem to receive the recognition they deserve!

• Create a recurring theme. This approach will draw your presentation together, allowing the participants to translate its objectives to the field. Create a story, or tell your story.

• Provide specific time for participation; involvement creates energy. Also provide adequate time to take short breaks. Attention spans have limits! Short breaks help to sustain focus.

• The use of your sales staff in presentations is a great option. Information is often of greater value and topics seem more relevant when offered from an admired peer. Don’t get caught up in your own voice.

• There is nothing worse than hearing an individual review topics that have been presented on a previous occasion. Where possible, create the element of surprise, the unexpected, and the favorable news. Everyone enjoys the enthusiasm created by good news.

• Build anticipation during the meeting regarding your entire presentation. Is there more unexpected and favorable information to be presented?

• Plan an opportunity to let your hair down. Sales meetings are demanding by nature – include a fun event of group participation whenever possible.

Remember, a solid agenda suggests a respect for your participants’ time. It establishes confidence in your presentation and creates a shared responsibility in meeting its objectives.


Over the years I have conducted and participated in forms of communication that have been very effective, and others that have not. While content should be our number one objective, it is our approach to the communication that will ultimately determine its success.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2008. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM