This is the second of my blogs looking at some fundamental areas of business. This is where we have a look at communications. Not the mechanics of communications – that can be learned through training, but rather why they are so important. First and foremost, we are social beings and we accomplish so much in life and business in collaboration with others. Sometimes everyone is on the same page and goals are easily achieved. But that’s not as common as we’d like it to be so it’s vitally important that you and your team know how to communicate effectively to get everyone on the same page and pointing in the same direction.
Most of the problems I encountered as a manager were to do with communications. Someone hadn’t communicated something critical to someone else. Or they had communicated it ambiguously. Or they’d communicated but the information hadn’t been received and understood. “No, sorry, I didn’t see that email.”
We’re communicating in more ways than ever before
Today’s businesses have the opportunity to communicate internally and externally in more ways than ever before. Person-to-person, telephone calls, letters, through emails, website, social media, and so on. But no matter what method of communication is chosen, it only works if it’s done effectively. There’s an important principle that it would do well for us all to adopt.
The meaning of your communication is the response you get. **
In other words, if they did it wrong after you’d asked them, it’s generally not because they are silly, it’s because you didn’t communicate it effectively. That premise holds particularly true when managing a team but it’s also true between departments and everyone your company communicates with – your customers, your suppliers, your advisors and your partners.
Better communications save time
Have you ever met a manager who doesn’t want more time? This could so easily be achieved by teams communicating effectively so that issues don’t occur in the first place and when, or if, an issue does occur, it can often be effectively and efficiently resolved. Imagine if teams had great working relationships fostered though good and frequent communications. By proactively and habitually sharing information, things would run more smoothly, people would get less frustrated, your customers would be better served. All characteristics of a well-oiled and effective organisation.
Here’s a closing thought. I can’t find the source of this quote which is a shame because it’s so apt. “It’s often not what you say, but how you say it that matters most.”
** This is a presupposition (belief, assumption) of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). A topic well worth researching if you’re interested in this area. I am a Practitioner of NLP and it’s an incredibly valuable set of tools for anyone.