Communication impacts every aspect of your business. Think of every sale, meeting, and conversation that takes place at work. You know when things go well (happy customers, energized team, clear direction) and when they don’t (wrong orders, poor sales, frustrated staff). You’ve experienced all sides of the delivery.
Now, you’re ready to streamline your approach. Whether you’re newer in your career or have managed teams for years, there’s always room to improve and perfect your style. Discover the best techniques to effectively communicate across your business.
Adjust the way you communicate
There are various effective business communication techniques. First, think about the way you communicate. And remember that not all communication is verbal.
Assess your current forms of communication, and identify when you use each type of communication. Then you can start to break down how to adjust and improve on these modes of communication.
Verbal communication is used to process orders, share ideas, and run operations. The best verbal communicators adapt to their audience and environment. Think of your staff as they explain complex menu items in a loud restaurant to customers. Hitting the right tone is key.
Written communication can be an email, text, or written note. Or maybe you need to send a memo to your supplier. Effective business communication doesn’t have to sound stuffy — you can still be professional and not sound formal at the same time.
Body language includes movement, sign language, eye contact, and posture. Body language could be smiling when a customer walks into your hardware store, leaning forward when someone is talking to you, or even gesturing where someone can apply free hand sanitizer in your restaurant.
Choose the right time and place
Another effective business communication technique is to tailor your communications for specific scenarios.
For example, you might want to talk about salary adjustments in a private meeting, but you’ll want to tell your staff about new menu changes in a team meeting or through a company message.
Communicating at the right time and place can help develop a positive workplace culture where team members feel valued. Here are a few ways to think about time and place for effective business communication.
One-on-one. These meetings are perfect for boosting employee engagement. Whether you need to discuss performance issues or career opportunities, 1:1 meetings allow you and your staff to communicate transparently.
Training. Your employees will hopefully undergo training during onboarding and it’s a great opportunity for you to communicate your business’s vision and values.
Team meetings. Team meetings prepare your staff to take on the week. Use them to go over key details to remember, like reviewing the week’s sales quota. Try different formats like a casual standup, going virtual, or doing icebreakers. As a manager, you should take the lead to promote a culture of openness.
Elicit a feeling
One of the most effective business techniques is to plan your communications to elicit a feeling. If you’re delivering a budget presentation, you might need your audience to feel a bit of fear because, without that increased budget, you’re not going to be able to hit your sales targets. If you’re talking to your team about COVID-19 safety protocols, you might want to elicit comfort so your team knows that your safety is a priority.
These are just a few ways to help you lead with confidence and build stronger teams. Use them in 1:1 meetings, standups, and on the store floor to help bring about your intended feeling.
Vulnerability. This might mean letting your guard down. If you had to furlough or lay staff off because of the global pandemic, let your team know that it was hard. Your vulnerability will inspire others to feel safe to share their thoughts too.
Empathy. You may be a manager now, but you were once a retail associate. Empathy means relating with your employee’s position and experience. If they’re making mistakes during their first week, think of what it was like in their shoes and give them more training.
Trust. If your employees tell you something in confidence, respect their privacy. Maintain psychological safety by building a culture where people can be themselves without consequence. Let them know it’s ok to be open in this collaborative setting.
Ask for feedback
Effective communication is an ongoing effort and practice. Is there an appropriate time to send emails? Do employees need to respond when they’re on vacation? Is the HR representative easily accessible?
Whether you’re communicating with your staff or with your manager, you can use feedback to adjust and improve in the future.
Open your doors. Empower your employees to talk to you if they have concerns. They shouldn’t feel trapped if something is preventing them from doing their jobs. You’ll build trust when they can approach you with their issues.
Go mobile. Written communications have their limits. People can ignore their emails or forget to respond to texts. Consider a central platform where your team can receive updates and provide input. A mobile platform can save you time and energy chasing people down.
Build a process. Create a process for providing feedback. It might be that your team fills out a survey after a meeting or you can set up a separate time to collect feedback face to face.
Boost your communication practices
As a business owner, effective communication creates lasting relationships with your employees, suppliers, and customers. But when you’re bogged down with admin, that communication can fall by the wayside.
Make communication easier — and stronger — when you take away that unnecessary admin. Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to see how something like simplifying scheduling can make communication even better.