Communication Strategies For Your Business
Effective communication for a business especially during a time of crisis is critical. Regardless of size or industry, the success (and ultimate survival) of a business does depend on effective communication. How we communicate with our own employees and with our clients now will impact on our future and ability to re-align to new markets.
As we adapt to the ‘new normal’ of virtual meetings, maximising online potential for our business, working from home (WFH), remote teams and leading in disruptive times, we must use communications as our “weapon of mass success” and incorporate it into every aspect of our businesses. Gerardine Lally, a highly successful communications expert and an integral part of Mentors, has provided consultancy and communication strategy advice to companies, business owners and strategists for over 30 years. She knows the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Here are Gerardine’s top 6 tips for success in communications that will help you as business leaders in these challenging times.
Be very clear about your message! Know clearly what you want to communicate while showing awareness and empathy with your audience. Outline your goals for your strategy and ultimate purpose. Develop personas for your audience so you can tailor your message per audience sector. Ensure your message is consistently transparent with no room for ambiguity or misunderstandings. Regardless of whether your audience is comprised of your colleagues or potential clients, clarity is vital in all messaging for an impactful delivery.
Remain consistent and calm in your messaging. One of the most significant symptoms of a crisis is uncertainty. Reassess your communications plan to include more regular and informal meetings and make sure you also have one to one conversations to ensure your message is getting through. Be careful with your tone of an email. If it is easier, then pick up the phone and speak directly to the person.
When leading or participating in a group virtual meeting, always remain calm and take notes. This will allow you to better understand how to engage, monitor conversations, include everyone. It is also very easy to go off on tangents on virtual meetings so do try and adhere to the plan/agenda set prior to the meeting. If necessary, set a time limit for the meeting and remind people to deliver their points concisely but always allow room and time for discussion.
Be confident when delivering your message: Confidence inspires trust and trust builds relationships. A confident communicator is always perceived as someone with knowledge and expertise. If necessary, practice beforehand or with your team if it’s a presentation to a client.
Body Language: Sometimes non-verbal cues will give you much more insight into a person’s train of thought. Face to face communications is much more effective than by email or by phone so if doing a virtual meeting or a presentation, switch on your camera where possible. Be very mindful of the importance of non-verbal skills when communicating virtually. Your smile, facial expression and gestures will all help you get your message across. Don’t forget to watch your audience’s face for cues. This will help you understand what’s relevant to their needs and what interests them.
Appearance: Appearance isn’t just about your own although you should be dressed professionally and be neatly groomed for all meetings / presentations whether they’re virtual or not. It’s also about your environment and the perception that nothing, technology or otherwise will phase you. If it’s a virtual meeting, then Gerardine has outlined some tips below that will enhance your audience’s perception of you.
- Set up your background so it reflects your professionalism – look around you and be happy and comfortable with what people see. Stay away from backgrounds and be sure that the colour you are wearing doesn’t clash or fade into the background.
- Check your equipment, there should be no need for headphones unless you are in a very busy environment.
- A microphone and webcam are very useful purchases that will enhance your sound and visual quality.
- Do have a glass of water close by just in case. There’s never any issue when speakers at an event have refreshments, so having one handy for a virtual meeting is nothing out of the ordinary.
Diligence & Security: As more meetings are now online, make sure you understand how to best use flexible and secure communications tools.
- Safeguard your organisation’s most sensitive information.
- Embed the video conference details when building your board book.
- Reduce dependence on insecure forms of communication such as email and text.
- Always ensure critical video conference links are securely distributed.
- Leverage split-screen technology and encourage the use of chat boxes to keep participants aligned and engaged.
If you or any of your team would like to learn more about effective communication strategies, Gerardine and the Mentors’ team can offer advice to your business and your team as individuals. Contact Eimear Walsh, Associate Director with Mentors on [email protected] or on +353 1 487 1180 for more details.