We’re doing it everyday, and we’re doing it across multiple platforms. We’re using multiple tools, and we’re talking to many different sized groups.
It’s business communication!
Something that is crucial to everyday business operations, crucial to meeting deadlines, eliciting progress, developing plans, and just generally, conducting good business.
There seems to be a tool available for any sort of business communication need, and whether it’s face-to-face conversation between colleagues or global communication between groups, conversing is one element of business that can never be underestimated.
This week, we cover some helpful tips to effective communication strategies you can implement across your workplace.
1. Use your clock (or your phone, or your smart watch...)
You get the picture.
If you’re setting up a meeting, designate a timeframe, and stick to it. Sure, this is abundantly easier said than done, but it’s imperative.
Don’t forget, you’re taking up the time of all your attendees, too, and if you’re running on different schedules or in different departments, you might have no idea what value, measured by time, you’re taking away from them.
If someone is steering you off course (or maybe that person is you!) you need to readjust, get the work done, and finish up within the frame of your time allocation. If time permits, at the end, then save that for some general chit chat.
But chances are nobody has time for that.
In fact, according to one study, up to half of all time spent in a meeting is considered as wasted. (Make sure you check out that link. It’s an awesome infographic filled with eye-opening stats.) How much of your valuable time do you estimate is wasted in meetings?
2. Use technology effectively and appropriately
Technology is amazing, and we love it. We also use it frequently. In many different business operations, technology is used to facilitate, enhance, engage and share messages and conversation.
One of our favourites, as we’re sure you are quite familiar with by now, is video conferencing. We use Lifesize video conferencing technology to facilitate meetings across boardrooms, across states, and across oceans.
Crystal clear HD video and audio quality ensures no one is sneaking in a little mid-afternoon map; instead, we’re alert, we’re proactive, we can share documents and engage, face-to-face, with meeting participants.
Best of all, an increased efficiency means meetings are completed sooner and we can continue with our day.
3. Does it really need an email?
“Did you get my email?”
“No, when did you send it?”
“Just a minute ago…”
“Err, then no. I did not.”
Contrary to popular belief, we’re not sitting at our desks with our eyes glued to our screen waiting for your dear email to grace our inbox.
If it’s too long, is an urgent issue, is negative (don’t get caught up in emotions via email – you will regret it) or is the starting point for a conversation with just far too many people, STOP and avoid clicking send.
Instead, pick up the phone, make your way over to your colleague’s office, or schedule in a meeting. Sending emails back and forth is an immense time waster and important messages get lost.
Also a time waster? Waiting four hours for a reply. If it’s that urgent, call!
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
This one might sound like a bit of a contradiction when the purpose of good communication entails effectively broadcasting a message with as little wasted time as possible, but if you consider questions to be wasted time, then you better listen up!
What do you think one of the main causes for wasted time is? Miscommunication!
Not fully understanding a concept, a conversation, a task, or a request is going to result in wasted time trying to figure out what needs to be done. And what’s the result of that? Extra emails, longwinded conversations, and, you guessed it, wasted time.
Speak up now, or risk the error of wasting not only your time, but others’, too.
5. Give (and ask for!) feedback
One useful way that you’ll be able to determine if your communication is effective is if you hear it straight from your colleagues’ or employees’ mouths. Find out where you’re getting it right, and where you’re getting it wrong.
Use this feedback to effectively identify pain points and improve future communications:
– Are emails being used too sparingly to share important information?
– Could that half hour meeting the other day been conducted in 15 minutes?
– Do you need to devise clearer agendas?
This kind of feedback is immeasurable in helping you improve for the future.
Implement these tips next time you’re tempted to send a long-winded email or when you’re about to go off on a tangent in your next team meeting. The tips are easy enough to understand, but trickier to implement (especially if you love a chat!).
But at the end of the day, we’re all after concise, clear, usable and helpful communication that will help us to do our jobs more efficiently and effectively.
If you’re suffering from the perils of poor communication strategies, maybe you need some supporting tools to help you communicate more effectively and efficiently. We’d love to help, so contact us immediately. Happy communicating!