Communication is consistently found to be one of the things that set apart successful businesses from failing businesses. No matter what field you work in or what product or service you create, communicating ideas is going to be needed at some point. This process gets even more complicated when you have several departments or teams that use different platforms for their work but need to be able to compile everything together at the end of the day.
The following will explores some of the things you can do to help ensure communication is of high quality within your organization. It is important to note that this isn’t an address once and never think about it again conversation. To continue to maintain strong communication lines, you need to be regularly reviewing the systems you have in place and speaking to your communications technology providers and platforms to see where you can meet newer needs and expectations.
Flexibility Is King
When selecting systems and software to use for business-wide communication and collaboration, it is crucial that you keep in mind flexibility. Saicom points out that the way humans communicate is constantly changing. The apps and platforms and programs you use today might be obsolete next week, and all the businesses that are thriving are suddenly talking to their customers through a new social media app you’ve never heard of before. When you’re working with a company that assists with communications or provides communications software, you need to speak to them about flexibility. How easy will it be to change up the system to meet new demands? Will you be able to incorporate new applications and technology as needed? Is it scalable so that it can grow in tandem with your business?
Training Should Include Communication
Of course, communication isn’t only about the tools people use to send ideas to one another; it’s also about how they use these tools. When training new and old staff members, communication tactics should be a primary point that is made. It is critically important that people reiterate expectations if you want to avoid wasting people’s time due to misunderstandings and to keep projects on schedule. Something as simple as sending off an email or ending a phone call with: to reiterate, you need this from me by Tuesday and that from me by Thursday can make a massive improvement regarding which information is being communicated. Make it a company-wide habit to end meetings and long emails chains with a: to confirm, this is what is expected of me. Another fantastic sentence that should be in everyone’s arsenal is: here’s what I need from you.
Likewise, making it abundantly clear that asking questions is okay is critical. If you have one or two higher-up members of staff that have a tendency to belittle people for what they perceive to be “foolish” questions, you need to speak to them. All the communication tools in the world aren’t going to help you if your staff doesn’t know how to say things in a way that other people will understand them.
Keep Tools Simple
Depending on the projects and contracts you’re working with, you might need to incorporate new tools every so often. That’s completely okay. What’s not okay is continuing to maintain dozens of communication methods in the workplace. This is akin to everyone having fifteen tabs open and expecting everyone to be on the same page.
If you give people too many platforms to check messages on, you can bet that some conversations are going to fall through the cracks as while they’re busy answering a company email, they’re getting notifications for the company chat app but are also having boxes on the company spreadsheet turned to gold with notes to go ahead on a project while also having tasks on the company task list app altered while also being expected to read the company newsletter. That’s too many things to manage, and it’s all too easy for one boss to be saying something on one app while another boss is saying something else on another app. Nothing is more frustrating as an employee than being told contradictory things. When you can, eliminate outdated communication methods so that it’s smooth and easy for staff to keep up with everything that is going on.
The above steps should help you manage business communications when multiple platforms or programs are involved. Again, communication is an always-evolving process. It’s a great idea to do regular communication audits where staff and managers are able to express any misgivings they might have about the way ideas are communicated within the workplace.