Hmmm are you easy to understand? Do you understand what your Manager is asking of you? Is communication clear in your office? What do your clients/customers think of your communication skills? Have you actually ever asked them? Ultimately – how do you engage with them?
The ability to engage/communicate well, is one of the biggest factors in business success. You could have the perfect product, but if you’re unable to promote your services and communicate effectively with clients and colleagues, your potential is limited. When you use effective communication it is the key to a successful business, and as we know today communication can be seen in many shapes and forms – verbal / social media / written etc.
The Oxford dictionary says communication is “The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”. My interpretation iscommunication is part of everyday human life. It is how we spend most of our time either receiving or requesting information. Lack of communication creates pressures and can destroy business relationships both internal and external, which can then lead to failure in results. This “ineffective” communication has cost many a business big money so in my humble opinion every business or organisation needs an effective communication program which will help them function properly and achieve their goals.
So what is effective communication? The whole idea behind communicating is to achieve a specific purpose – so before you address your team or make that sale or get that buy in ensure you are choosing the correct form of communication. Look at the urgency, formality, risk, confidentiality, size of audience etc. All these will have a play on how you are going to get your message across successful.
Remember to target your market. In some circumstances written is better than spoken, (remember though, sometimes written can be mis-interpurted) sometimes the message is best on social media while others should be left for a “one-on-one” approach. Overall the desired outcome is to get a response from your target.
So – if you are pitching to new clients you need to be able to convince them that you are the best person for the job – and take this from me – communication is the secret to success here. Remember to ask the right questions and communicate professionally.
If you’re attending a meeting whether it be with a client or your team the key here is to schedule and plan thoroughly. Never go into a meeting unprepared. My biggest advice here is to listen and think about what you are going to say before you communicate back. When dealing with clients make sure they feel they are your priority. Remember to ask them for feedback and if there are any problems then address them asap.
The same goes for if you are off to a networking function for your business – communication is key. My advice here is to “prepare an elevator speech” This should last no longer than 30 seconds and should convey how your product or service solves a problem for your target audience. Again always go prepared to these events. You will be surprised at who you will meet.
Finally if you are going to go out there and market yourself and your business remember to target your market. If you use social media (Facebook, Instagram, blogs, twitter etc.) you must write well. Ensure your communication is clear concise and action provoking. Remember to watch for comments and responses especially complaints. Make sure you deal with them in a timely and professional manner – we all know how viral twitter has been recently where brands/people have not responded quickly or professionally. Todd Carney is a great example of this!
This leads into my final point that always remember to ask for feedback. Keep the lines of communication open. At Optimum we use “Employee Life” a risk mitigation tool which I have found highly successful not only internally but externally. This is a simple cloud-based feedback platform developed specifically to help employers, managers and employees stay on track to achieve their goals and improve day-to-day performance. I personally feel that this product is great at encouraging a continuous cycle of feedback as well as understanding current situations, and has the ability to track progress with regular reminders/checklists. Using a tool like this can help you engage with your staff, clients or customers on a whole new level.
So in summing up the difference between a tolerable communicator and an effective communicator is the difference between being good and great at what you do. It could be the difference between a Sale and No Sale / by in or not from your team.