In business, communication is King (or queen!) Without it, you are guaranteed failure. However, many people don’t pay any attention to their communication style. If you are independently employed, communication will be even more important. Communication is the foundation of all relationships, business and personal. Here are three things to keep in mind while communicating:
Clear & Concise
Don’t dilute your message with complex phrasing. Don’t muddle your meaning by beating around the bush. You should be able to state what you want or need very simply, and very honestly. A good way of doing this is to keep your messages – both verbal and written – devoid of banter. If you need to ask something of someone, don’t spend a paragraph just chatting, say hello and ask directly. People can smell when someone is beating around the bush and it makes them less likely to agree to it.
Communication is at its best when it is clear and concise. There should be no shadows, smoke, and mirrors, everyone should have their needs clearly stated and on the table. This way, when the various parties involved in any project are interacting, everyone knows where everyone else stands.
When you don’t do this, people tend to hold expectations which aren’t clear. When expectations aren’t communicated, people end up dissatisfied.
Communication should be comfortable. Personally – excepting a few scenarios – I’m opposed to overly formal communication. It creates a sense of disconnect that benefits no-one. Of course, we need to remain weary of mixing business and friendships, but the most successful and innovative companies actively discourage formal hierarchy.
Here’s the problem, Hierarchy promotes a company that produces measurable, predictable results. That kind of result is good for oil companies, who only need to worry about profits, it is good for the military, who need rigidity, but it is the absolute bane of innovation and insight. When you hire a talented individual, and subsequently limit the range of their creativity, you’ve hacked their usefulness in half.
If you want a talented pool of individuals to perform well, make sure they feel they are in an environment of comfortable communication. Now ideas can flow freely.
Communication is more similar to gardening than building a house. You build a house, and eventually you are finished, you move on to a new house. Communication is a garden, you plant, you tend, you trim, you water. Eventually you pick your vegetables, or admire your flowers, and you continue on – it is a cycle whose benefits continue to grow and reap rewards.
Communication must be consistent. As needs change, they need to be stated. As projects evolve, you must be sure to keep the line of communication free.
Communication is the great make-or-break. In all things, from marriage to business, communication can change the course of events. Many people make the error of assuming it comes naturally when, in fact, it must be actively curated. Knowing how to leverage communication is a huge boon to any project.