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Tips for effective business communication

One of the most compelling books of recent years is undoubtedly Yuval Noah Harari’s magnificent history of humankind, Sapiens.

This seminal work deconstructs the development of human history, establishing four key milestones that lead to homo sapiens becoming the advanced and dominant species: the cognitive revolution, agricultural revolution, colonisation, and the scientific revolution.

You may by now be wondering exactly what role the condensed history of humanity plays in the current operations of your business. Well, if we take Harari’s first milestone – the cognitive revolution – it becomes apparent that arguably the most significant feature goes somewhat neglected in today’s business environment: communication.

Harari argues – very convincingly – that the ability of homo sapiens to think and communicate in previously unprecedented ways led to the species being able to convey ideas and spread messages.

In these early days, this meant that cooperation would lead to avoidance of threats, improved crop cultivation and ultimate dominance of species. And all through a genetic mutation that led to an improved manner of communication.

Business and communication

We’ve undoubtedly come a long way.

Yet, in other respects, it can often feel like communication is regressing, at least for those employees who feel underappreciated and lack the clarity of what drives a company or what the end goals – other than making money – truly are.

Focusing on business and communication should therefore be a key objective of businesses of all sizes and the better the communication, the better the chances of success.

Effective communication is, of course, about far more than sending the odd email to your people and having the occasional meeting.

In order for you to get the most out of your team and thus achieve the greatest possible chance of success, you should work to establish an effective business communication plan, taking into consideration a number of important factors.

  1. Promote trust

The importance of communication skills may be essential to conveying to your audience the messages you wish to get across but there is one factor that trumps even this: trust.

Being as open as you can with your staff – through good and bad – can help engender relationships that are built on trusting one another’s opinions.

This will breed the ability to be honest with your team and for them to be honest with you in return. For example, if your marketing team are dissatisfied with the level of budget they have to work with, knowing that they can be trusted to provide a fair assessment of the necessary requirements.

  1. Set common goals

This is often an area upon which businesses fall down, with each team being in a position of competing with one another to meet their own specific goals as opposed to the overall business objective.

This goal should help unite the teams, not pit them against one another in a competition for management approval.

Openly state what you expect the company to deliver and wherever possible, break this overarching goal into department-specific objectives. The benefit should come to all once the main target has been achieved, thereby ensuring everyone is pulling in the same direction.

  1. Engage and encourage your audience

In much the same way that trust is an integral factor to two-way communication, so too is engaging your audience.

For any employee – from the trainee to the senior director – being told that their work is valuable and makes a difference to the company is a huge motivational factor.

Take the time to get to know the people who are working for you and talk to them about their personal goals and ambitions, what challenges they’re facing in their work and whether you can assist them in overcoming them.

Such communication shouldn’t come simply via a one-a-year career appraisal conducted by a line manager; set yourself reminders to talk to each person on a regular basis and ensure they feel valued. Otherwise, they’ll simply be turning up to get paid, which will never drive your business to greater success.

  1. Grow some thick skin… quick!

Ok, so this tip is not the easiest to implement but it could well be one of the most important. If you’re in the position of managing many members of staff, are a high-flying executive without time to stand around and chat, or are the reclusive CEO that seldom moves beyond your office door, you should face up to the fact that not everyone will like you.

It doesn’t matter what you do or say, some people will always have criticisms and bad things to say about how you’re running things.

And, do you know what? They’re perfectly entitled to those opinions.

In fact, you could even encourage them to feedback their criticisms.

After all, you want your business to be as successful as possible, so if people in qualified positions feel like there is something amiss, why not give them an opportunity to vent?!

Furthermore, take the time to discuss what they say, acknowledge their opinions and work with them to find a solution. Sure, there will be times when it’s criticism for criticism’s sake but if you’ve managed to foster an environment where people are able to voice concerns without fear of reprisal, you’re doing something right.

Implementing better business communications

There’s a wonderful quote attributed to writer George Bernard Shaw – ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’

After all, it takes two for a message to be successfully communicated: the speaker and the listener. As such, you should always seek to ensure that communication in your business is effectively delivered and understood. Much of this can be achieved by implementing the strategies listed above and building relationships built on trust and respect.

Once they are successfully initiated, you must keep assessing whether the lines of communication are being upheld, whether individuals feel ‘out of the loop’ and/or have any suggestions for improving things further. By doing so, you can look forward to the successful communication of new ideas, improvements and support all of which will help you company develop.

Contact THP today for further help

Whether you need help with bookkeeping and accountancyauditing and business management or company restructures and acquisitions, we offer everything you need to take your start-up or SME forward. Contact THP Chartered Accountants in Surrey, Essex or London today. We’ll be happy to support you and give the advice you need to drive your business forward.

Avatar for Jon Pryse-Jones
About Jon Pryse-Jones

Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board.  “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says.  He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.

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