People often complain that they are over-saturated with information. There are too many emails in their inbox, too many slides in a presentation and too much technical jargon in their journals. This is becoming more of an issue as many people take their work home with them and are permanently available on a cell phone or mobile internet device. It is hard to switch off and very difficult to filter out what it is necessary to know from the huge volume of information flooding our brains. If a business or team is going to function as effectively as possible it is important to have good business communication methods in place. Follow these ground rules to get the most out of the way your business communicates.
Whatever needs to be communicated ensure it is stated clearly and simply and repeat it many times. Avoid acronyms, technical jargon and flowery language which all cloud the key message. It is very important that you know what your key message is before you start to communicate so be sure to spend time fine tuning the exact wording. Spending time creating a good key message that flows through all future communication can save a great deal of extra effort over the long term.
Get to the point
If the message is a good one, do not make the audience wait. Give it to them straight and then repeat it through all following communication. Too much build up or background will lose the impact and bore the audience before they reach the good stuff. If the message is bad news do not try to dress it up as anything else. The best way to deliver bad news is directly followed by a great deal of listening and reassurance if necessary.
Be truthful and transparent
It takes a great deal more effort to win back trust than to build and keep a trusting relationship from the start. Be truthful with all communications and you can build trust and confidence continually with those you are communicating with. Hiding from the truth or trying to masquerade a situation as something other than the reality will create more problems and distrust further down the line.
There is a big difference between being direct and truthful or being rude and tactless. Do not use the first three of these headings as an excuse for being too brutal, insensitive or just plain offensive in communications. Communication with people at every level of a business and in every part of society should be respectful, courteous and appropriate. Remember that people often tell others about how they have been treated, spoken to or communicated with so do not communicate in a way which may be a source of embarrassment later.
Be culturally aware
When communicating with people it is impossible to separate culture from the situation. This does not just mean when dealing with people from different ethnic or linguistic backgrounds, it can also apply to different workplaces and working environments. If the culture of an organization or person seems unfamiliar to you then ask for help and get a translator or guide to help you understand the audience better. It is far better to ask for help than to run into problems and spend unnecessary effort trying to rebuild trust and improve dialogue later.