To help improve communications for our division, we created a central communication hub for announcements, discussions, and a community calendar.
The Announcements list is a one-way communication tool. It connects to Outlook only through RSS; and you can only post to the Announcements list by logging in to SharePoint.
The Discussion List is a two-way communication tool and it connects to Outlook very well. You can create posts to the discussion list directly from Outlook and also send replies directly as well. The only thing to watch with connecting to Outlook is that you’ll need to train your users to not delete posts from Outlook. They can only delete their own posts but you want to make sure they don’t do that. When you first get people connected to Outlook, they should use the “Mark all as Read” setting.
The Calendar has helped build our community. We encourage all our users to post events on the calendar, and it too connects very well to Outlook and allows your users to view their own calendar side by side. Because of the number of events that can get loaded on there, I recommend that people set up a daily or weekly summary alert on the calendar so that they can be made aware of new events being added, so they can choose whether or not to copy those events to their own calendars.