We’ve always heard that communication is key, but in today’s world it’s not only key – it can make or break a business.
Nearly every minute of every workday we are communicating – whether it’s internally with coworkers or trying to close the next big deal with a business prospect. We now have more communication vehicles than one could imagine. It’s becoming rare that people pick up a phone, much less engage in face-to-face meetings. Rather, most businesses rely on email, social media, media outlets, mobile apps, chat boxes, and texts.
Communication by the Numbers
According to one report, the costs of poor communication has hit $37 billion annually with large organizations (over 100,000 employees) reporting losses in productivity of $62.4 million per year. For a company with fewer than 100 employees, studies show a loss of $420,000 annually due to miscommunications.
Think what your company could achieve with $420,000 more a year.
While communication has always been a challenge for businesses, these astonishing statistics show just how much more an employee is overloaded in today’s workplace.
- Every day, 205.6 billion emails are sent; only one-third are opened1
- Americans spend 26 minutes a day texting and send 5.3 more texts than phone calls they make2
- 46% of employees leave a meeting not sure of what they are supposed to do next2
- 57% of projects fail due to breakdown in communications3
- 11 hours a week are wasted on poor email communications3
To make matters worse, studies have shown that different generations have different communication preferences. If you’re a millennial, you may be thinking IKR – “send me a text, forget emails.” (That’s “I know, right?” for those of you who don’t speak text.) If you’re a baby boomer, you may just want to talk via phone or face-to-face.
So, how can you use the tools and methods available to you to better communication to co-workers and future partners or clients?
How to Succeed at Business Communications
Today everyone is bombarded with messages from social media, emails, and texts. To get the next deal or partnership for your company, it’s important to make every message count. How can you make sure your message is heard above the noise?
To succeed in today’s art of Business Communication, follow these simple steps:
- Actively ‘listen’ and pay attention. Ignore the next email that just came in or the text that just appeared on your phone.
- Be empathetic and understanding. Everyone is managing multiple tasks and fires each day. Be aware that people aren’t starting their days from the same place every day.
- Assume good intent. Clients and prospects are busy – just like you. Most people are focused on getting work done and doing what’s best. A brief response or delayed response does not mean that person is angry or ignoring you – they are likely buried in priorities.
- Don’t make assumptions. You know what they say when you assume. With much communication happening in writing, it is easy to misread a comma or a text message gone bad.
- Be self-aware. Know your own emotions and if you have a reaction that you feel strongly about, double check where you are mentally and what you have going on around you before you respond.
- Ask questions. Work under the guidance that there are no dumb questions. If you don’t know what the person is communicating or you are confused, ask for clarification. Asking questions will ensure that you and the other person/s are on the same page.
In summary, communication takes practice. No one will ever get it right all the time. We leave you with these pearls of wisdom.