Why better business communications matter
January’s Better Business Communications Day aims to celebrate the efforts of those who communicate effectively. Whether that’s internal or external, every morsel of comms count when it comes to productive and efficient business. Successful leaders and growth businesses all acknowledge that working with a clear and focused communications plan is fundamental.
So how does better business communication actually show up day to day? And what are the rewards to be reaped from investing in a better level of business communications?
Engagement and productivity
Clear and consistent leadership communications are shown to be the top internal communications factor correlating to the engagement of employees. The more inspiring, authentic and connected the communications within a business are, the more connected and engaged employees are.
Improved employee engagement naturally leads to an improved level of employee productivity. More engaged teams are shown to be more motivated and more efficient, resulting in a higher output at every level.
As markets and societies evolve in the post pandemic world, we’re seeing an increasing number of employees employed remotely or navigating a hybrid set up. Putting in place better communications strategy and networks allows for improved connectivity regardless of where employees are based.
Employees who are engaged with their work and who feel included in the internal communications of a company are shown to be more content. Those who feel part of the motivations and sensitivities of a company and who are briefed on changes in their workplace are happier. Happier employees means an organisation can look forward to a lower turnover rate and higher staff retention overall.
Building a better company culture
Developing and rolling out a communications strategy that is based on honesty, transparency and collaboration feeds into the creation of a stronger and more positive company culture. The idea of a team, of communications as a relationship and as connectivity, can only improve the experience and overall culture of any working environment.
What does it take to put in place better business commutations?
Honestly and vulnerability
The best communication is not a PR effort. It’s an open, candid telling of what is really happening. Leaders who lead by example showing strength through vulnerability are those who motivate support and backing from their teams. As Brené Brown explains, vulnerability is the basis for creation. To create is to make something that has not existed before and showing that to the world can feel nerve-wracking. Leadership is just that: creating, creating again, and adapting to fit the response as you show your creation to the world. Being open to having difficult conversations can lead to more productive and successful solutions. No true and successful team is built on half-truths or omissions.
Concise and clear
Good communication does not mean long communication. Often the best and most memorable communicators are those who best understand what their audiences needs. Winston Churchill recognised just this and spoke mostly in short, concise sentences. He understood that people are most likely to retain brief powerful messages rather than long, rambling stories. Consider this when crafting your communication style. Choose clear and direct language. Remember that impact is made when people really understand and connect to your message. A real time example of this is TED who have implemented an 18 minute maximum rule for all meetings on the basis that research shows our attention spans are between 10–18 minutes.
Communication is not only about what you say but equally how you say things and the manner in which communications are received. Emotions play an important part in this, something which renowned communicators recognise. Bill Clinton focused on emotionally connecting with his audience through non–verbal communications and tried not to distract with overly rehearsed gestures or gimmicks. Michelle Obama combined humour with unprepared candour to connect with her audience. Speaking from personal experiences, being open and honest about real issues and choosing language that resonated with her audience, she connected on more than a verbal level.
Good communication is a relationship, a dialogue between people. It’s not a lecture, or a monologue that is delivered from one person to others. Truly inspiring communicators recognise that collaboration is key. Taking a genuine interest in the people you’re communicating with and developing empathy with them ensures communications are better received and retained. Take Oprah Winfrey as an example. Oprah understands that listening (not just hearing) is fundamental to communication. She has built a career on showing a real interest in whoever she’s talking to and allowing their role in the communication to direct her own.
Underlining the relationship component of communication creates a true culture of collaboration within a company. Microsoft famously employee ‘Ralph’, the chicken to help their collaborative communication. The plastic chicken is thrown around a meeting room keeping the balance of speaking and listening and underlining a lack of hierarchy between team members.
It’s easy to show why better business communication benefits everyone, from company to employees, customers to bottom line. Interestingly more than half of companies admit they do not have a long term strategy for internal communications and 29% of employees report that poor communication is the reason for the failure of a project. Given that improvised communications can generate better engagement, productivity and a drop in employee turnover, there’s no doubt that turning our attention to a clear and open communications strategy within any business, large or small will have its benefits.