Communication is everywhere in business. From reading this blog post to talking to a customer to collaborating with your team on a Google docs file, communication is the engine that drives your business – and the condition of that engine will definitely impact how efficiently your business runs.
From communication skills to the physical infrastructure you need to make communication smooth, it’s time to give your business a communications check-in.
Follow these 5 steps to identify your business communication needs and you will be well on your way….
1. Review Your Business Communications Practices
If you want to identify and work with your business communications needs, you need to start by reviewing your current practices. Look at areas such as:
- How do you communicate in house and with your customers – is it mostly email, phone, social media or something else?
- Are your communications generally positive or stressful?
- Is there a clear structure for passing messages or do things tend to get lost?
- Is your phone and email system up to date and easy to use?
Look out for any areas that could do with improvement so you can start working on them.
2. Get Your Infrastructure in Place
What you say and how you say it is important, but the other part of good business communications is good infrastructure.
Your needs will vary depending on the nature of your business, but at the very least you want to make sure that it’s easy for customers to get in touch with you, and easy for your team to communicate with each other.
If some of your team telecommutes, being able to reach them as easily is a must.
Whether you choose the convenience of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services, Skype, or using an app to keep track of all your social media comments, it’s vital to make sure you have the entire infrastructure you need to meet your communication needs.
3. Set Good Communication Boundaries and Guidelines
Another aspect of good communication doesn’t come from the infrastructure, but from the boundaries and guidelines you set.
Whether you are setting the tone for in-house meetings or putting together some information on interacting with customers for your team members, setting good boundaries and guidelines will help you.
These should include interpersonal guidance such as respect and politeness, and practical guidelines such as making sure customer communications are answered quickly and professionally and making sure team members know who to contact and how if they have a problem.
4. Engage Active Listening
Good listening is an absolute must for good communications. It’s easy to start a conversation with your opinion or start an interaction with a customer by telling them all the things you want them to know.
But to really be an effective communicator, you need to take time to listen.
Encourage your team members to listen to one another and give each other space to speak during meetings.
Listen to your customers not only when they talk to you, but by hanging out on social media and finding out more about them and their concerns.
The more you listen, the more you can learn to speak others language and communicate with them on their terms.
5. Make Communication Easy
Communication is best when it’s straightforward and comfortable. Making sure that’s the case in your business means having good systems in place.
Everyone should know who their first point of contact is, and getting a message to them or arranging a meeting should be as straightforward as possible. Your customers should be shown how to contact you and when they can expect a response.
And last but not least, your technology and infrastructure should be up to date and easy to use so that getting the message across is a cinch, not a headache.
From your phones to what you say through them, the importance of caring for and maintaining your business communications can’t be overstated.
Value and work on your communication and you’ll find your message gets across loud and clear, to a positive response.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business, and SEO.