Almost everything we do involves some form of communication. But when it comes to business, our communication are vital. So where to start?
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Ask the opinion of someone who can be completely honest with you about your strengths and where you really stink. If you need help, go to communications skills quiz. Even if you don’t submit it, the questions make you think. Then review the last couple years regarding what people have said about your communications. What types of questions come up consistently? Have they commented on your communication style? Address those concerns.
- Include graphics or pictures. People learn in different ways, but studies show about 80% of men process best visually and about 50% of women process emotionally. Our reading comprehension increases when we read, hear, and see what is conveyed. So using visuals with your communications improves how your message is received.
- Know your audience. Presenting to a financial institution’s Board of Directors is very different from pitching to angels for contributions to a non-profit. In one case, it’s “the facts ma’am, nothing but the facts.” In the other, it’s sharing a vision and passion for making a difference. If both skills are available within your organization, use them where they will do the most good.
- Be clear. When people are uncomfortable about a topic, they start talking all around it. That confuses the issue. Before you start the communication, know what you want to accomplish, know the most concise way to say it and then do so. If what you have to say is less than pleasant for the person to hear, there’s a great trick taught in psychology – sandwich the difficult bit between two good bits. So, if you are telling investors your quarter was less profitable than hoped, first share a good news item, something like a long-range goal has just come to pass. If a reason profits are down is a big capital expenditure, talk about the benefits that item brings. Then tell them the “bad” news. And follow that up with another good news item.
- Make it as personal as possible. Even if you send out a mass mailing about a new stage in the company’s development or the annual report, create a personal tone to the cover letter or memo. Do something that gives people receiving your communication a reason to enjoy it. Got a new product you’ve just released – send one free to your investors to try, or if it is a big ticket item, have a micro replica made for a keychain or paperweight. If every time you send the annual report you think of a new way to amp the personal without spending much, people could invest just to get what you send
These are some of the ways we suggest you can improve communications with your people.
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer from NYC.