Tagged: communications

4 Straightforward Ways to Strengthen Workplace Communication

In March of 1977, conditions at Spain’s Los Rodeos Airport were chaotic.

Due to a nearby terrorist incident at Gran Canaria Aiport, many flights were diverted to Los Rodeos. The airport quickly grew congested with parked airplanes blocking the only taxiway. This forced departing aircraft to taxi on the runway instead. Patches of thick fog drifted across the airfield, greatly reducing visibility for pilots and the control tower.

Around 6:00 PM, a Boeing 747 KLM flight initiated its takeoff run while a PanAm 747 was still on the runway. When the planes collided, the KLM plane lifted off briefly, then stalled, rolled, and burst into a fireball upon striking the ground. The PanAm plane was also ripped apart and destroyed by the collision, resulting in a total loss of 583 fatalities. It was the deadliest accident in aviation history.

Unfortunately, the tragedy was entirely avoidable but it occurred in a moment of confusion. The pilot believed he had received clearance for takeoff. He did not.

Avoid Your Next Communication Breakdown

While your communication breakdowns probably aren’t quite this serious, they do account for lost time, efficiency, or depletion of team morale.

Good communication is essential for the success of personal and professional relationships. But often, this skill is assumed rather than carefully honed and evaluated. And failed communication has consequences.

According to statistics, 28% of employees mention poor communication as their primary reason for failing to perform tasks on time. One survey of 400 large companies reported an average loss (per company) of $62.4 million per year due to inadequate communication to and between employees.

Poor communication skills make it difficult to build trustworthy relationships with your clients, investors, and suppliers. Here are a few bad habits to eliminate and strategies to try instead:

Assuming Rather Than Clarifying

In work relationships, people tend to swap opinions and stories rather than asking questions.

Managers who take a coach approach to conversations will dig in with simple questions like, “tell me more.” Clarifying questions help to build trust and strengthen accountability.

Being Indirect Versus Intentional

If you desire prompt responses to outstanding questions, don’t just sit back and hope for the best.

Instead, use direct outreach strategies including a follow-up inquiry within 24 hours. To keep the communication cycle moving, reach out and “tap back” over the next day or so. Most of the time you can move the ball with just a simple inquiry like, “thoughts?”

Hoping Things Will Get Better Instead of Speaking Up Immediately

Many people avoid tricky conversations, but this rarely ends well.

When you delay after sensing a red flag, you may be enabling things to get worse. Don’t wait to speak up when something isn’t working. If a team can adapt or innovate early on, this benefits everyone.

Sending Rather Than Scheduling an Email

Everyone loves to scratch items off the to-do list.

But if you really want to optimize communication, perhaps you should delay on hitting the “Send” button. What if you prioritized your communication around the days and times that are most convenient for others?

When people read with full attention, your message will carry much greater weight. Try using the “schedule send” feature in your platform to send more effective, timely messages.

Foundational Skills Bring Long Term Value

With so much at stake in your business, communication is a foundational skill every person can improve. When you grow your communication skills, you instantly add value to your firm and your team.

Volume Control: Striking the Right Balance in Your Customer Communication

“Trust is earned in drops but lost by the bucketful.”

(Security and privacy expert Fatemeh Khatibloo, Forester Research)

Do you want to be a consumer-first marketer?

You need to earn people’s trust – and to keep it. When you do this well, it creates a series of encouraging relationships that translate to profits and sustainability. But violations of trust can sabotage your business.

When it comes to marketing, brands tend to believe more is better. If customers have started a relationship with you, it seems obvious that more texts, print ads, or emails will entice them to spend more. But no one wants to be known as a target. Over-marketing puts your company at risk because it expends your goodwill.

Marketing begins by establishing a relationship between brands and consumers. But over-marketing kills that relationship. The Social Break-up study provided clear evidence of this phenomenon. Did you know:

  • 91% of consumers have unsubscribed from permission-based marketing emails
  • 81% of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feeds
  • 63% of followers have “unliked” a company on Facebook due to excessive posting
  • 54% of customers said they unsubscribed from a list when a brand’s emails came too frequently

When you overcommunicate to customers, eventually, you’ll find you must put out greater effort only to receive less dynamic results. Before you hammer people with content you must calculate the long-term cost of the messages you send.

Allow Customers to Manage the Cadance and the Channel

Are you over-marketing?

There is a fine line between “just enough” and “too much,” and your customers may vary on what they appreciate. To find the right balance, you may want to allow clients to control the content flow of your marketing spigot.

Preference centers are customer-controlled portals that invite users to select the types of messages they would like to receive and the preferred times. A tech publication, for example, might provide options for newsletters about business tech, consumer tech, product reviews, and new gear launches. Papa John’s pizza divides its preference center into sections centered around food preferences, delivery options, payment types, and marketing preferences.

Empathetic brands work to delineate preferences across three dimensions: communications channel, content type, and desired frequency. Some people may prefer weekly text messages, while others request a monthly print newsletter.

Here are three ways to hone preference strategies for each dimension:

Ask your customers

Streamline systems that directly allow clients to share the style, frequency, and mode of communication they prefer.

Follow your brand from an outsider’s perspective

Want a crash course in communication optics? Opt-in to your own promotions and put yourself in a prospect’s shoes to observe where authentic and helpful morphs into overselling and chaos.

Streamline your processes

If you have multiple sectors in your business posting emails, Tweets, and ads, things quickly become chaotic. Set some boundaries or place one person in an oversight position to avoid over-promoting.

Treat permission to market as a gift

While most people have favorite brands they’d love to see more of, for most companies the best approach is “less is more.”

And messages tailored to a client’s specific needs or pain points are certainly more relevant and welcome than generic mass marketing. Treat permission to market as a gift, and allow people to have a say in when and how they would receive from you – no strings attached.

Respectful empathy positions marketers to act less like piranhas and more like friends.