If you consider why most things fail in business, sport or in our private lives it tends to

be down to poor communication and misunderstanding!

Never stop communicating – but be effective doing it!

This morning my wife and I had a disagreement over breakfast. In the end she said, “It’s not about

what you said but how you said it”. I guess you’ve all experienced this from time to time yourself? So do you stay quiet next time or would it be better to listen, reflect and prepare before you open your mouth?

Research by Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA found that only 7% of

communication drives the right emotions and feelings to change behaviours through the words we use. But 38% of understanding is due to the tone of your voice! So what makes up the remaining 55% of communication?

It’s actually visual, i.e. your body language. Note: you are more likely to be judged by your eye contact, facial expressions, presentation, use of pictures, branding logo’s and designs, branding colours, text layout and the style/quality of brochure, flyer or letter. I’m sure many of you have received those emails in high case in BOLD , which certainly can drive high emotional reactive behaviours that manifest themselves into a dispute or falling out, Due to the visual impact the message was communicated by irrespective to the words used or context set. So be very conscious of how you present yourself when communicating.

The benefits of communicating generally, particularly in business… the clearer the information you share about yours’ and the business’ goals with your employees the clearer the purpose for your employees within the organisation and how they can add value. Therefore use diagrams, infographics to help get the key points across. Have in mind your overall objective, which may be improving internal operations and process and staff working closer together delivering those shared goals. If customers can receive a better level or service or quality of product, ultimately your business will grow due to the improved reputation, brand and recognition of doing a good job and adding value to the customers needs.

Who needs to communicate in your company and why… If you manage people either as a business leader or line manager, ensure you communicate face to face as there’s a higher chance of the instruction and actions being clearly understood. This is not just a chat by the coffee machine, on the way home over the mobile, or as you pass in the corridor, but to ensure you are effective it is by holding structured team meetings followed by 1-2- 1’s at least monthly with your key reports. Don’t rely on email to communicate important changes and information, only use this medium as follow up and to share supporting documents. Following up by holding 1-2- 1 communication sessions effectively will help drive change of behaviours in the workplace. Keep meetings to an hour maximum, have a fixed agenda, give the employee a chance to talk and listen, agree the next development steps and set any objectives for the next meeting and put that date in your diaries and stick to it.

Who they need to communicate to… anyone who is responsible for others must also have regular communication with their staff. To encourage team work and effectiveness, always praise in a team environment, however only constructively criticise on a 1-2- 1 basis. Encourage and hold tool box talks and best practice sharing sessions, using the experts you have in your business or associates to share their knowledge and learnings to improve effectiveness and efficiencies within the workplace.

How to control communications… particularly in 1-2- 1 situations. Stick to an agenda, timings and to the context. Always refer to facts and supporting evidence in particular if there’s likely to be a challenge to your communication. Always stay positive, listen and acknowledge any concerns but don’t give personal opinions no matter how close you are to the employee. You may need to mention the key points a number of times but ensure you before you finish the meeting you check they understand why you are sharing this information and then agree the next steps.

Within 24 hours, always follow up with any meeting notes, supporting information and confirm actions clearly stating the time, date and place of the next meeting.

The benefits of communication. Recently I have been working with a business owner of a well established business with 12 employees he manages day to day, however the business owner never had any time off, plus is working long hours and weekends to catch up. With an objective to create more time for him, we held a staff session in December sharing this objective and 2017’s business goals. Some of the ideas the staff suggested were; create a couple of team leaders, hold monthly team meetings and quarterly business updates.

So we agreed who the team leaders would be and structure the teams effectively then started the monthly meetings in February and whilst it is still early days, the business owner now only has only two direct reports, the team leaders and a monthly meeting with the key staff to plan and deal with. 1-2- 1s are just being introduced for the team leaders to hold with their reports however the feedback from his employees has been; we don’t have to wait for the owner to get back to us on decisions or direction – as he was always too busy!

Everybody is clear on the objectives and performance of the business month to month.

Generally there is a positive buzz around the place and communication is much better and all we help each other more.

The business owner explained to me last week that orders are up year on year, staff are taking on more responsibility for day to day actions and he now has time to work more strategically to plan activities looking ahead to 2018. Plus he had a week off for a decent holiday early June and is also going away in September for 2 weeks on a cruise with his wife...

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people.”
Steve Jobs

If you are looking to grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offer a free business health check where we can help you to set a clear vision to understand the steps you need to take to fulfil your aspirations.