Accelerate Your Communication
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
When poor communication is standard, employees are less productive, and organizations suffer from a loss of opportunity and customer dissatisfaction. Employees become unsure of their priorities, mistakes are made, and customer complaints increase. Effective communication increases employee engagement, community involvement, and builds the foundation for trusting relationships with the organization. Avoid the temptation to solve the problem by sending more workplace communication. 77% of study respondents spend more than two hours a week managing unwanted communications causing distractions, disrupting workflow, and missed deadlines. People crave better communication, not more communication.
Effective communication first considers the audience that will receive the information. Employees are more productive and motivated when they understand what is being communicated, and why it is being communicated. The communication method chosen impacts the ability for the receiver to understand the message we are trying to convey. If something is best communicated visually, a phone call is probably not the best way to transmit that information. When messages are communicated the right way, at the right time, and to the right audience, better understanding and adaptation is the result.
When we are communicating with various audiences, try to avoid being salesy. A more entertaining approach incorporates storytelling into workplace communication. Storytelling presents information in a way that is memorable and fosters community engagement. When we’re trying to convince a client to purchase a product, telling a story about how the organization was able to solve a similar problem is more impactful than a slide presentation of the product’s benefits. If you want employees to treat customers with excellent service, share stories with your teams, painting a vivid picture of what excellent service looks like.
THE RIGHT COMMUNICATION TOOLS
There are a variety of communication methods and tools organizations can apply to accelerate their workplace communication. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity levels rose by as much as 20-25% among workers who use online social tools to collaborate. Focus on adapting the methods and tools that are most efficient for community engagement and the people who will use them. Use the following tools and methods as examples to generate ideas for effective communication and remember to prioritize quality over quantity.
Social media platforms were designed to build relationships and are used to engage, listen, and gather information and feedback from your audiences. As time passes, social media platforms and their users evolve and change. Choose platforms that allow you to most effectively communicate with your audience. In time, you may need to make adjustments to the platforms your using based on where your audience is engaging.
Organizations can interact in groups existing on networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn to engage with people around specific topics and industries. Attract new employees and clients, ask questions, and learn more about customer needs by opening up on social media.
Many social media platforms come with a variety of communication methods such as live chats, polls, and instant messaging. Video has become a preferred source of communication with US adults spending nearly 6 hours per day consuming videos. Capitalize on the popularity of video communication by setting up a YouTube channel and uploading valuable content. YouTube’s users consume 1 billion hours of video per day on it’s platform, which happens to be the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site behind Google and Facebook.
Tools such as Marketo, SocialPilot, Buffer, Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Brandwatch can be used to automate social media, send emails, produce digital and mobile ads, and generate data and analytics.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, an array of digital communication methods and tools exist to facilitate effective communication. For larger organizations, organizations that span multiple areas or buildings, or organizations with virtual employees, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. Rather than a face-to-face meeting, consider using a digital tool to convey the message.
Videos can be used to communicate with team members organization-wide. Once we record the message, the video can be distributed to everyone who needs the information. Vimeo and YouTube are examples of services that can be used to store and distribute videos.
Webinars, training, meetings, focus groups, etc. can be enhanced by using digital tools like Skype or Zoom to support personalized communication that doesn’t require people to be in the same room.
In an effort to accelerate communication with employees, many organizations have turned to an employee communication app. Mobile apps not only encourage effective communication inside the organization, many businesses use apps with their customers, as well. Think about your bank, insurance company, or favorite restaurant. You can probably check your bank balance, make transfers, access your insurance card, report a claim, and order your favorite meal all from an app.
Project Management Tools
Tools that promote team collaboration can be implemented to simplify workplace communication. Platforms such as Office 365 (includes Teams, Planner, and Sharepoint), Trello, Smart Sheet, and Slack optimize communication to keep projects organized and on track. File sharing software such as Google Docs, Dropbox, or OneDrive supports effective communication and reduces confusion by holding everything in one place.
Depending on the industry in which your organization operates, there are possibly more relevant project management tools worth adopting. For example, sales teams benefit from CRM software such as Salesforce, Pardot, or HubSpot. Graphic designers and content creators may need to use communication tools like Adobe Creative Suite or Canva. Customer service and/or IT departments may benefit from ticketing software such as Zendesk or Samange.
For those who don’t love the idea of starring on video, podcasts are an excellent communication method to reach your audience. People consume podcasts on their mobile devices, whenever it is convenient for them. Consider developing a podcast for your organization or brand that provides its listener’s with valuable information or entertainment.
Accelerate Your Communication in 4 steps:
Conduct a Communication Audit
- How many ways does the organization communicate with its employees, the community, or other stakeholders?
- What tools is the organization currently using to communicate with its audiences?
- Are there existing communication standards of practice in place?
- What internal or external communication improvements would you suggest?
- Discover which communication methods the employees, community, and other audiences prefer to use.
Find the Right Tools
- What tools would best facilitate your communication efforts?
- Can the organization take advantage of automation?
- Are there any tools or processes that the organization should stop using?
Align Communication Processes
- Treat internal communication consistently department to department across the organization. Provide access and training for the appropriate communication methods and tools to everyone.
- Develop a process and standards for external communication to be followed organization-wide. Consider reviewing or creating guidelines for how the organization communicates in public or on social media, including who should speak to the media.
Gather Feedback & Repeat
- Technology evolves quickly, giving us more options than ever. Decide how often you will conduct a communication audit to determine if the workplace communication methods need improvements or updating.
- Ask the employees, community, and other audiences what is working well with the organization’s communication and what can be improved. Delivering on this will increase community engagement.