If your colleagues are nearby, stick your head in their office and ask for feedback: “Hey, would you take a look at this? What do you think?” Your physical presence ensures a response.
More likely, though, you’ll send the presentation to your colleagues in email. But who to include?
Email one person to ask for feedback and you’ll need to wait until they have time to respond. Email many people and you might encounter “someone else”-itis: where all recipients assume someone else will reply, but no one does. Even worse, you might start a “reply all” thread that clutters everyone’s inbox with non-urgent and non-actionable email.
So email might not be the best way to ask for feedback.
Instead, you post the presentation to your favorite social media site and ask your friends/followers/subscribers/readers for feedback.
But what’s the likelihood of a random follower reading and providing useful feedback on your presentation? If you’re Mark Benioff or Mary Meeker with thousands of followers, you’ll get feedback. More likely, you won’t have the same number of followers, so you won’t get feedback. And if the slides include confidential information, sharing online may be illegal.
So posting to social media might not be the best way to ask for feedback, either.
Chatter works well to share posts, files, or links across the company. And, when people respond, the comments are visible to others — and can be found later. Information stored in Chatter is available to the entire organization, not buried somewhere in a few people’s email archives. In fact, you can find any shared information quickly with Chatter’s search feature.
Chatter lets you expose more of your work to others. No longer do ideas need to remain shared only with your team. Instead, you can share what you know and tap the expertise of your colleagues — without clogging up their inbox. Even better, if your company already uses the Salesforce.com platform, you can add Chatter to your system. You can choose to have the most recent posts display after you login to Salesforce.
You can create Chatter groups that are private or a bit more public, as well. In both cases, the group owner or manager must specifically invite members to the group. Internal private groups can be useful for smaller team discussions within the organization. And “Customer” groups, as Chatter calls them, let you engage people outside the organization. These can be especially useful if you’re working with a team that crosses organizational boundaries. When posting, you can share information with everyone or to a specific group.
Some standard features you might be familiar with from Twitter also exist in Chatter. The @ sign before a person’s name (e.g., @robmay) in a post ensures they’ll be notified about your update. The # before a topic (e.g., #erp for “enterprise resource planning”) ensures that the post will be found in all future searches for that hashtag.
Chatter is not a replacement for email or public social media. It also isn’t a replacement for a standard help desk, blog or file storage system. As with many social tools, Chatter becomes a more viable tool as the number of employees and employee locations increases. Ten people in one location can easily stay up-to-date on company activities and status without any tools. Chatter helps companies with hundreds of employees to recapture a bit of this intimacy.
Finally, Chatter provides larger scale organizations a way to “route around” conventional hierarchies and communication channels. It lets people share what they know, ask for advice, or obtain direct feedback from anyone in the company. So the next time you want feedback on a report or presentation, share it with your private social network on Chatter.