Daniel Tiger of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Four Good Communication Reminders from Daniel Tiger

Recently, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to spend at home with my two-year-old daughter. As we don’t have many movies, we rely mostly on Netflix for entertainment options when there’s time for it. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (derived from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) doesn’t just teach children useful lessons – they’re lessons that can be applied to anything.

Here are a few useful songs for use in communications:

  1. “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do”

Are you adding an event? Improving a process? Reorganizing? When you have enough details to tell everyone about the upcoming changes, make it known! The more advance notice people have, the more they can adjust their plans and the fewer problems you’ll have from people indignant that they weren’t told about the changes. Your audience wants to be involved with you. You wouldn’t think of telling your spouse that you’re moving for a new job after accepting the new offer, would you?

Another thing to remember in this process is to constantly think about what your audience knows about you, your events, and your processes. Sure, you’re aware of upcoming events. It’s all you’re thinking about each workday. But your audience’s exposure to what you’re doing is limited to their interactions with you in the media, on social media, and whatever you’ve made public.

  1. Everyone’s Job is Important

This one works two ways: One, some organizations don’t consider communications as an integral part of their business. You’ll need to remind leadership in these situations of the value of communications – mostly the fact that their decisions impact people and will be judged by people. Often, the communications representative will be the only person listening to the people.

On the other hand, you’re the communications professional, but that means enlisting others to assist in the mission to get information out there. Your co-workers, friends, family, and anyone with a vested interest in the project you’re working on ought to be enlisted as assistants to spread the word. Everyone wants their job to have some meaning, and if you’re the one reminding them that they are valuable, they’re going to prefer helping you to doing projects for which they aren’t rewarded.

  1. When you have to go potty, stop…and go right away

Things are going along great – you’ve set up several projects that are on track, you’re working on something that will be really exciting for your fans later on…and boom – you get something that requires your immediate attention. Whatever you were doing that can wait…it needs to wait.

Crap happens and you need to take care of that situation before you have a much bigger mess and delay on your hands. When you’re done with it, make sure you take a few minutes to “flush and wash” before resuming your other projects. You don’t want to be focused on the wrong thing and create future problems for yourself.

  1. Keep Trying, You’ll Get Better

Naturally, this applies to everything we do. It’s why people looking for jobs need to have experience. It’s great to take classes in school, but ultimately you have to keep trying to do new things and get better at the ones you already know how to do if you’re going to become as good as you can be at something. Are you a great writer but you don’t have experience with video? Time to work on writing some scripts and creating some videos.

If you’re not in a position where you can work through things and learn using your job, then hopefully you have a hobby that enables you to work on your craft on the side in a way that you’ll be able to translate it to your job in the future. Then you’ll be benefiting yourself and your company with the same work.

As you’d expect from PBS and especially from a program derived from Mr. Rogers’ work, nearly all of the lessons are applicable to life, no matter how old you are. Whether you have a small child or not, it sometimes helps to refresh yourself on some basic principles, and it doesn’t get much more basic than a show for toddlers.

The only thing to watch out for is getting the songs stuck in your head.