In a world where we are connected digitally more than ever before you’d think we’d all have perfected our communication skills. However, the fact is, we tend to make things much more complicated than they need to be, especially in business. Bill Gates once said, “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other.” So building on this quote how can we communicate more effectively in business?
Start with how you communicate with yourself. Evaluate how you are personally performing and how it is affecting your business. It’s important to be honest and clear with yourself.
Ask for feedback from fellow team members, customers and friends. Encourage them to be honest with you. It can be difficult to hear feedback, but it’s truly the only way you will be able to grow as a business leader.
Once you’ve identified areas for improvement and have put a plan in place, it’s important to clearly communicate it to everyone who has a stake in your business – especially your employees. Bringing them into the plan early ensures there are no grey areas. Everyone will be on the same page and have clear expectations for performance.
Including employees in the process can help them learn and could even inspire new ideas to help your business grow. Additionally, they can help hold you accountable with your goals. Check in with them frequently to assess how things are going and adjust if more clarity is needed.
Perhaps the most important person you need to communicate with is your customers. They are the backbone of your business and without them you can’t succeed. For them, it’s essential to clearly communicate not only your products and services, but what you can do for them to make their lives easier, more productive and more enjoyable.
Involve customers in your self-reflection process and ask for their feedback on your performance. This doesn’t have to be a formal process. Simply striking up a casual conversation with customers can provide a wealth of information. It can give you insight into what they need and provide inspiration for new ideas. Understanding your customers can also open you up to avenues to find new customers.