We all know that communication is key in any business, but in practice what does it actually mean? What ways should we be communicating with each other and what are the main traps we might fall into but need to avoid?
Communication is key at all levels of our business. Every day we spend our time communicating even if we work alone. The internet, email and social media keep us in touch with clients, potential clients, employees and senior staff which in turns means that all our outward communication is linked together to give the business world around us a picture of who we are and how we do things.
In much the same way that companies build brands, they also build a voice for that brand. Every time you communicate you are speaking with the voice of your business and it is crucial to make sure that it is a positive one, building the right kind of relationships for you across the board.
Start as you mean to go on
Whether you are working with someone for the first time or the 50th time, pitching to new or old clients, start every new task with effective communication. This means making sure everyone is clear about what is happening, what the goals are, with the ‘how’ and ‘when’ these will be achieved throughout the project and how everyone is going to keep in touch.
Make sure you stick to deadlines, no matter how small
If someone has a question for you and you say you’ll get back to them that day, make sure you do. This establishes trust from doing what you all say you will do, and enforces the idea that others can rely on you.
Make sure you are communicating even if there is nothing new to say
There is nothing worse than waiting to hear from someone. In the silence it is easy to imagine that when you do hear from them it will be bad news. Make sure you keep in touch at all stages: to initially talk about what needs to be done, to give regular updates about what is being done or where in the process you are and finally to deliver what you set out to achieve.
If it isn’t working try something else
We’ve all had a situation where we are trying to communicate with someone and for whatever reason we can’t seem to find common ground. Take a step back. How did you first present this to them? What are you trying to achieve at the end? Ask questions and see where things might have gone astray. Go back a step and make sure you are moving forward with them this time.
People don’t want to hear the negatives
As with all areas of life, people don’t want to hear about what can’t or isn’t being done. Try and communicate positively. This doesn’t mean you can’t give critical feedback or tell people what can’t be done but think about how you are presenting it to them. Start by telling someone what you can do before telling them what can’t be done. Tell employees what they’ve done that has impressed you before you tell them how it can be improved.