How We Communicate #3: Belinda Gannaway

By Richard Hughes on October 16, 2014


Yesterday I took part in a webinar entitled The Future Of Business Communications – Beyond Email with Luke Brynley-Jones, Angela Ashenden and Belinda Gannaway. It was a great discussion and we could have easily filled another hour. If you missed it, you can listen to the replay here.
After the discussion, Belinda kindly sent her contribution to our How We Communicate series.

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First, tell us a little bit about yourself

belindaI am a consultant at collaboration consultancy NixonMcInnes. I help people in large organisations work together better to become more agile and innovative – and better able to respond to customers’ needs. I believe in disrupting the status quo to connect people in new ways, to have better conversations and, ultimately, create new things and ways of working. The office is in Brighton where I live, but I travel a fair bit in the UK and a bit in Europe.

How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through?

For connecting with colleagues I use a mix of Chatter, the SalesForce social app, Google docs, email and Google chat.

Working with clients I use a mix of email, NM’s collaboration solution – Basecamp – and clients’ own solutions, and text message.

Skype, text, Twitter and Google Hangouts are all helpful for working with distributed teams of associates on different projects.

I”m a bit of a LinkedIn addict at the moment and I also use Twitter (mainly for work) and Facebook (mainly for non-work stuff, but not entirely). Can’t remember the last time I had a lengthy phone call with a friend. I even have email conversations with my mum, and my children Facetime her. Why do I have a landline anyway?

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

I have a terrible habit of looking at the news, Twitter and my emails on my phone in bed in the mornings. That isn’t a healthy media diet.

How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

I’d estimate it is about 50/50. But we’re moving to a hot desking environment so I think that will change as I embrace the opportunity to work anywhere. Something I already do, but not enough – especially given there’s a lovely cafe on the beach with wifi only 5 minutes from my office.

Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

I try and look at work emails in chunks after I’ve completed a piece of work – or had some solid thinking time. This rarely works. Personal emails I tend to deal with only in the evening. Twitter and FB I look at intermittently throughout the day.

How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

I’m now much more aware of how disruptive interruptions are and I try harder to switch off from them. I do a lot more communication through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook than three years ago. Three years ago I was working as a freelance consultant so I didn’t use a work-based social network. I really enjoy it as a way to stay in touch with colleagues.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

I’ve switched them all off except Chatter. But now you remind me, that’s going off too.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

At the moment it would be my abs workout. But I’m very faddy. So it will be something else tomorrow. Probably the one that would annoy me most would be if you deleted all my photos as I’m hopeless at backing them up. Comms wise, I’d probably keep Twitter as I can access colleagues, Friends and news from it.

If you could fix just one thing in the business communication tools you use, what would it be?

I love gmail’s ability to put messages into a priority inbox. But I hate the way it stacks messages, so I’d sort that out. I’m sure there is a way to do it, I just haven’t looked yet.

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If you’d like to participate in the series, please contact, or @_richardhughes on Twitter.