Struggling companies or new startups may be unsure of how to establish themselves in a competitive market.
Creating new products/services, running more advertising campaigns and promotions to reach new audiences can help, but they may not address the underlying problem. Businesses often forget that strong internal and external strategic business communications are the foundation that supports successful operations.
Just as a weak infrastructure will eventually cause a house to collapse, organizations with poor communication strategies have a hard time achieving their goals.
Successful companies establish themselves by standardizing a set of communication skills that are used among employees and with customers.
The Cost of Poor Communication:
How to Be Strategic with Business Communication
Strategic communication is an overarching term that encompasses various communication associated careers, such as public relations or marketing. It also includes the strategies used in a non-communication related business to manage employee and customer interactions.
Strategic communication is a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that utilizes different communication methods to attain key business goals. Its purpose is to assist companies in generating and delivering targeted messages for an audience.
By achieving this purpose, an organization will pinpoint new revenue streams, optimize employee collaboration efforts, grow their client base, and build trust in their brand.
Strategic communication requires utilizing different communication skills in the office, with customers, or in advertising campaigns. By employing these techniques, organizations can build lost-lasting relationships with their clients, strengthen the workforce, and grow the bottom line. These best practices include-
1. Establishing Constructive Communication
An organization should first determine which communication methods are appropriate and which are not. Two important points to consider are whether certain communications should be formal or casual, and what the desired methods are for speaking with superiors, coworkers, and clients.
Discovering the best communication techniques may require using trial and error, asking for feedback, and researching different audience responses. Once these points are addressed, the organization should standardize best practices and make sure to convey these methods to new hires/current employees.
2. Minimizing Deficient Language
Business team leaders should make certain to convey important messages by using concise, strong, and clear language. This requires being aware of one's own speaking flaws and then making a dedicated effort to improve.
It's important to remember that certain words and phrases can be construed in different ways, depending on the audience and type of communication medium used.
For example, it can be difficult to relay emotion or nuance when texting or sending an email because the receiver has no verbal cues to go off of. To avoid problems, the speaker should employ clear and professional language with minimal jargon when using digital communication mediums.
3. Using Digital Tools Wisely
The digital age requires workers to use email and messaging systems more often than not in the workplace. Enterprise leaders should establish best practices for these mediums to avoid bottlenecks and miscommunications.
Certain interactions require face-to-face meetings or a phone call, rather than an email. For example, a major change in an HR policy or a newly established method to complete a workflow should be communicated in a meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Email and chat systems are more useful for swift questions, explanations, or confirmations of a completed business process.
4. Speaking Only for Oneself
Employees should try to avoid being a third-party messenger, particularly if the communication is about an important subject matter. A third-party messenger might not convey relevant or entirely accurate information. This can cause frustration, further back and forth, and a disruption in operations.
To be more effective, speakers should use the first person to convey their own experiences. Saying the word you can put someone on the defensive and cause them to stop listening.
For example, a manager should say to a chronically-late employee It helps me perform my job when everyone is on time rather than You are always late and it creates more problems. By avoiding making the person feel bullied and singled out, the receiver will be much more receptive to constructive criticism.
5. Confirming Communications
Rephrasing and confirming what the speaker has said can help ensure everyone is on the same page. This is especially useful when talking to a frustrated or concerned customer.
Rephrasing a concern can help a customer feel understood, respected, and appreciated. It also prevents more work for the employee by ensuring he/she understands fully what is required.
It's important to note that confirming a communication doesn't infer that the listener agrees with the speaker. A customer may voice an unreasonable concern or request, but rephrasing it can help put that person at ease. This will enhance future communications and make it easier to convey bad news.
How to Handle an Upset Customer: Reiterate the complaint, remain calm, listen closely, thank the customer for addressing the concern, explain the steps needed to resolve the problem, be sincere, and set up a time to follow-up. - Anonymous
In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about business communication strategies-
- A company should establish which communication practices are appropriate for customers, coworkers, and superiors.
- Minimizing deficient or weak language can ensure everyone understands the main theme of a message. It prevents frustration, wasted efforts, and disruptions in workflows.
- Digital tools should be used wisely and only as-needed because certain correspondences require an in-person meeting or face-to-face interaction.
- Speakers should use words such as I rather than You to avoid putting the receiver on the defensive. This improves the audience's comprehension and ensures a better response.
- Confirming communications can help to make a person feel understood, respected, and appreciated. It also creates less work for an employee and optimizes future communications.