“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
7 Things you ought to know about Efficient and Effective Communication
As the boss or the owner or the manager (or all three), you'll spend a lot of time generally dealing with other human beings. In your position, you'll be advising, informing, explaining, instructing, discussing, reviewing, clarifying, counselling, guiding, suggesting, convincing, persuading, coaching, responding and... well, you get the idea.
When you're spending so much time on something, it must be important; you want to see a positive return from it. The trouble is, unlike a website, a human being is the most unpredictable thing on the planet and sometimes what we think we have clearly explained, may not have been as clear as we thought.
So how do you know if what has been interpreted does not match what you communicated?
- time is wasted
- explanations are given more than once
- you spend too much time correcting work
How does this impact on you, your business, your clients, your team?
- lower profits
- lower morale
- missed opportunities
- damaged reputation
- existing customers leave
- potential customers go elsewhere
If you don't do something about it, your business will be on the critical list. How do you have super-efficient and effective communications in all your dealings?
Here are five areas for improvement:
1. What's really expected?
With technology evolving rapidly, how many operational guidelines have you created about what you truly expect? Mobile devices, email, open plans... we assume so much. It's important to get things clear. Do you really expect them to answer emails and texts within 6 seconds of receiving them? Being clear on what is expected helps your people have time to think, strategise and get on with important business, as well answer enquires in a timely manner.
"People typically spend 60% of their time dealing with the effects of unclear expectations in their organisation"
— Stephen Covey
2. Effective delegation
A major time-waster and cause of inefficiency in business is when people delegate, but don't communicate. The scope of the task, areas of responsibility, reporting and review arrangements, resources available, good delegation needs thorough communication on a range of important factors. Often, too much is not communicated and too many wheels are reinvented because of that.Regular feedback is left to 6-monthly performance appraisals. When you brief them thoroughly and discuss any issues before and after the job, you give both you and your people an opportunity to have success recognised. What's more, good communication helps the person take responsibility, learn for themselves and improve quickly.
3. A boss who listens... not half listens
Be honest... when you are constantly interrupted, do you give 100% of your attention... or do you half listen? Do you assume you know what the problem is without getting the full details. Stop low priority interruptions by being inaccessible for some of the day so you can get on with your work and so that others start to rely on other resources, BUT when you are accessible and open for discussions, listen more than you talk.
4. Minimised meetings
When was the last time you were in a meeting that dragged on too long, or shouldn't even have taken place at all? Too often, a meeting turns into a talking shop with everyone trying to have their say. Keep to subject, keep to time, push for clear decisions wherever appropriate and above all, keep it short. Here's a challenge for regular meetings (e.g., a weekly team meeting) - agree on a target that each meeting will be shorter yet more effective than the one before.
5. Shut down the grapevine
If you don't give your people information, they'll find it from somewhere else; and it won't necessarily be true or helpful; especially in times of recession when they might worry about the future of your business and their jobs. Good communication means informing your people of what your plans are, where the business is going, and involving them in getting there. People find it hard to hear the positives if the negatives are being smothered. Rather than have these fester (now that's an ugly word) get concerns out into the open and once out, strategise how to manage/reduce the impact of these concerns. This gets people back in control and gets their focus on what they can do to manage what is happening.
Taking five minutes per day, five days per week to improve one's job will create 1,200 little improvements to a job over a five year period - Maybe it's time we got started?
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