Methods of communication
There are many ways to communicate information.
Choose the method that best suits your purpose and audience.
|!||83 per cent of students prefer to receive communications from Federation by email.|
Email is ideal for communicating with specific groups of students or staff, when no urgent answer or action is required.
Make sure you are only emailing the people who need this particular information. If people get too many irrelevant emails they switch off and pay less attention. If they usually receive focused and specific messages that are directed to them, they will be more likely to open and read the emails they receive from Federation.
You should also ensure that you are authorised to communicate this information, particularly if it relates to academic progress or expresses an opinion on behalf of Federation.
In a 2016 survey, many students advised they will not read an email from Federation if the subject line does not interest them.
- Short and direct (aim for 50 characters or fewer).
- Clearly introduce the topic of the email.
- Be engaging and interesting, without being obscure.
- Give the reader a reason to open the email and read more.
|Surprised by your ATAR? Come to Federation Info Day.||FedUni Info Day Wed 14 Dec|
- Discuss one idea or event.
- Target a specific group.
- Put the call to action at the top.
- Include all relevant information.
|Email Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care student about placement opportunities.||Email all students at all locations about changes to the Wimmera Campus library opening hours.|
- Professional, while still being relaxed and friendly.
- Not overly casual or grammatically incorrect.
- No nicknames, slang or emoticons.
|Thanks for getting in touch about our Bachelor of Information Technology. You’ll receive our information package in the mail soon.||It is with much appreciation that we acknowledge your interest for the Bachelor of Information Technology. An information package will be distributed to you through the mail service as soon as possible.|
|Awesome! You’re going to love the BIT. Info in the mail.|
- Include hyperlinks for additional or background information.
- Hyperlink words or phrases that explain what the reader will find when they click the link.
- If a link will automatically download a document, make that clear and state the file size.
|Find out more about our counselling service.||Click here.|
|Download a Cover Sheet (pdf, 23kb)||Download a Cover Sheet|
- Attachments should be as small as possible, and only be included if they are directly relevant.
- Use your official Federation email signature with our logo and your full contact details, in line with the brand guidelines.
- Avoid generic signatures that only list a job title, department or area.
Automated or official letters are usually used for more serious or important messages than email. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be written in an overly formal tone. In fact, it’s even more important that serious messages are conveyed in a positive and supportive way.
|!||Students would like more information included within the communication. It is not always clear to them where to go or who to contact for more information.|
- Include a clear subject at the start of the letter, perhaps in bold type to make it stand out.
- Put the call to action or specific instructions at the top.
- Give detailed but concise information or instructions.
- Explain how they can find more information or support.
- Try to keep it to a single page.
- More formal than email, but still friendly.
- Letters should always use the official letter template, which has the Federation logo and contact details, or be printed on Federation letterhead.
- Letters should always have a signature.
Newsletters, whether printed or digital, are a great way to build a community and connect with people on a very personal level. They are often more informal than other forms of communication, and might be created from content and images supplied by a range of different people. This can be wonderful, as it can lead to lively and interesting content, but it is important to make sure that mistakes don’t slip through to the finished product.
- Nominate someone to be responsible for the content and ensure that it is appropriate and relevant to the target audience.
- Be entertaining and informal, but also professional.
- Aim for a balance of fun and facts to make it more likely that your newsletter will be read from start to finish.
- You can use jargon and/or abbreviations, but be careful not to confuse or alienate new members of your audience.
- Carefully check and proofread all content before sending it out.
- Ask for feedback and contributions, and acknowledge that content if you use it.
- Have a regular schedule (e.g. the first week of the month, quarterly).
Layout and images
- If appropriate, use the FedUni newsletter template, which has designated fonts and colours.
- Don’t cram too much text on each page. If your audience is overwhelmed by the amount of information on the page they might not read any of it, which means all your hard work has been wasted.
- Use clear headings and subheadings. This will help readers navigate through the newsletter and find the information they need.
- Allow plenty of white space and don’t go too crazy with different fonts and colours.
- One good image is more eye-catching and effective than several small ones. Make sure you are using good quality images at the appropriate resolution.
- Always caption pictures, especially when they have people in them (making sure to spell their names correctly).
|TIP||Images with too low a resolution look blurry or pixelated. Aim for 72 dots per inch (dpi) for digital newsletters and 300 dpi for print. Don’t forget that enlarging an image reduces its resolution.|
If you will be out of contact for more than two days, it is expected that you add an ‘out of office’ message to both your voicemail and email.
This must include your expected date of return, and where possible an alternate contact.
Sample out-of-office message
I am currently on leave until Monday 3 July 2017.
- If you are enquiring about special consideration, submit a request to Student HQ.
- If you wish to apply for a program, please lodge an application via our online applications system.
I will respond to all other enquiries upon my return.
SMS, or text messages, are very good for sending essential or urgent messages, for example, a room change or a cancelled class.
- Be as direct and concise as possible.
- Don’t give any additional or background information.
- Be clear that this is an official message from Federation.
- Follow up with an email or other form of communication, so that people who don’t have a mobile phone, or have difficulties using them, are not disadvantaged.
Use the Federation SMS template, which includes the student’s first name and Opt-Out wording.
Hi Eleanor, do you need assistance completing your Federation application? Reply ‘YES’ to request a callback from our Customer Service Team. To Opt-Out of application assistance SMS reply ‘STOP’.
The Opt-Out text always includes the subject of the SMS, so that students understand they aren’t opting out of all Federation text messages.
Social media is a very powerful – and public – form of communication. Think before you post.
- A balance of entertaining and informative posts is good.
- Always be relevant.
- Separate your personal opinions from your professional role.
- Only comment on issues within your area of expertise.
- Don’t rely solely on social media to communicate urgent or important messages.
- Use an informal, friendly and conversational voice.
- Be polite.
At Federation we encourage the use of social media - for advertising, collaborating, celebrating and chatting. To ensure best-practice and legal compliance, staff are required to read the Social Media Policy, the Social Media Procedure and the Social Media Manual (pdf, 624 kb).
Queries should be forwarded to the Social Media team.
Our website is a rich source of information for current staff and students. Content on the site should help people find the information they need and complete tasks as easily as possible.
The site is also an important marketing tool, so it should always be positive, optimistic and friendly.
The content on our site is managed, created and maintained by site owners and content coordinators in each school, portfolio and administrative unit. The corporate web team provides them with training and support, and our Web Publishing Guidelines outline their responsibilities, and our policies and processes.