Communication’s easy isn’t it? After all, most of us communicate in various ways on an everyday basis. Yet, while it’s a natural and intrinsic part of our working and personal lives, communication is surprisingly easy to get wrong. Communicating in a business context?
Here are three simple rules to bear in mind:
You know exactly what your organisation does – it’s obvious isn’t it? Erm no. When you eat, sleep and breathe your business and its activities, it’s hard to comprehend that some people haven’t heard of you, your products or your services. Put yourself in the place of an outsider: if you only had a short time to introduce your company, how would you pitch it? What do you need to get across to impress them? What’s different or better about what you do? How does it benefit the end user? The answers form your key business messages. Boil it down to the basics. It gives your key messages clarity.
Once you have clear key messages, you need to communicate these consistently. Your strongest points should be emphasised across all your digital and physical materials – no mixed messages. For sure, the style in which you put your points across will vary between a blog post and your annual report statement. Regardless, the same key messages should exist in both. Unless you are spamming your social media channels with multiple repeat posts, you’re unlikely to go over the score on this front. The old marketing rule of seven may be open to debate, however it’s reasonable to assume that people won’t respond to your company’s calling until they’ve heard it several times.
Success = growth. Excellent stuff. But just as growth needs to be managed, so does communication. Increased staff numbers present both an opportunity and a threat. On the upside, you now have a greater number of ambassadors who, in an ideal world, will become effective communicators of your company’s agreed key messages. Surely there can be no downside? Sadly, there is. Consider this real-life example where one organisation’s overseas division sub-contracted work that their UK colleagues could have handled to an external supplier. Inadequate communication regarding one another’s capabilities led to poor commercial practices.
The moral of the story? Don’t dismiss communication as a soft skill. Commit to the three Cs and let communication contribute to your company’s success.
Clare Scott is a Communications Consultant and founder of CJS Communication & Marketing