So we begin to look at communications, why so late on? Well its because communication between employers and their employees is almost the final string of the bow as many of the initial tasks become a working reality. If you were to ask any employee about a key challenge within their current work environment most often often communication issues will top of the list - or maybe 2nd behind benefits, I hope we have covered this earlier on. There is so much available on the subject out in the ether but not all seemed to be adhered to sadly. So why do businesses still face issues when it comes to communication?
Many believe this is infact because it is always reviewed from the communicators / business owners point of view rather than that of the listeners / employee’s point of view. Any communicator must understand the needs and perspectives of those in which they wish to communicate with. So the information in which is being shared with any individuals must be of interest, useful or simply relevant to their daily activity. We go to that word “engagement’ again - is the communication engaging employees to listen and process effectively, or sadly are they just switching off.
Some points for communication can include these following 4 steps heavily discussed in Dale Carnegie's training on Leadership and management.
- Entertain - Make the verbatim interesting to listen to, be humorous or include interesting facts related to the subject matter. I personally have always found video a great way to engage during communication especially in large groups. With multiple clips on any subject matter available on Youtube it is always a good engagement tool to link in a pithy video into your communications. During sales briefings on getting the most out your day - I would always refer to a clip from the Will Smith film “In the pursuit of Happyness” the film has great moment about selling and how to achieve more in less time. It worked overtime to get people on board to next part of the communication.
- Inform - Once people are engagement make sure it is then informative in the next steps. The last thing you need is meetings for meetings sake, this gets your and your teams nowhere and essentially wastes time.
- Convince - Make sure that the people your are engaging with listen and take on board the specifics of your communication. Compelling people to act on the communication, or indeed encourage the additional input with the current meeting. Remember discussion is good.
- Communicate to Action - This is the next steps, the energy behind the communication. Always having an outcome in mind before communicating is essential to allow some measurement on whether the communication was successful and whether it needs changing for the next attempt. A goal must be communicated for the the individuals to achieve.
More often than not what happens is that an action or measurement is never identified by the communication. What will likely happen is a disappointment from the communicator / presenter because the goal they wanted is not achieved. Furthermore frustration from the employees as they are confused by the communication as not demonstrating a benefit to them or their work environment. The next steps must be clear and concise, well planned in advance of the communication. This preparation will bring more valuable outcomes for all concerned.
There is risks still with communication with a desire to always avoid telling or what I call one-way contact. I was brought up with this and from the very first paragraph it has been discuss that you can’t order people around and expect the best results. You always have to be concerned about who is listening and what are their perspectives in the communication. Some may think this is a lot to put into a message but you have to look at the risks of not doing it properly, poor delivery of communication will only lead to one definite outcome - no passion for delivery, poor outcomes and a frustrated workforce. So like or not you have to engage with employees on their level getting them to buy into whatever you are selling.
So communication is business critical for a businesses success, as business leaders everyone can continually improve their focus and purpose of communications. Always presenting an ideal of why the communication is important, clear concise points which benefit those who are listening in a way which achieves an outcome.
In your next meeting follow a couple of simple new steps and see how you get on this time with what return you gain:
First, actually plan the discussion, pinpoint your outcomes and engage them with the listeners. Second, find some interesting content whether it be video or event quotations from well known outlets (these are easy to find on the internet) and finally engage in discussions on the goals for the listeners allowing them to buy in to the message at hand. This will work for every meeting, 1-2-1 or presentation you intend on communicating in.