By: First Union
Advice on Business Communication
In these quarantined times, communication is key to keeping your business strong. You may think you are great at communication in your personal life, but business communication is a special category where civilities may be slightly different. Learning how to properly communicate in the business world, both within and outside the company, can lead to stronger relationships all around. Great business communication can help your company grow, and even cut down unnecessary emails. It's never too late or too early to improve upon how you communicate in the business sector. Communication can encompass much more than chatting and emailing and extends to all interactions.
Types of Business Communication
Business communication can fall into four categories. The first being, internal upward communication. This kind of communication is when an employee talks to their boss. So they are speaking upward in the chain of command. This flow of information can be so important to understand what is going on in your operation on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes some encouragement to get the communication flowing up the chain of command. A good way to combat this is to welcome it and ask for it, this can be in the form of feedback, surveys, or performance reviews.
Next is internal downward communication. This is what happens when a boss communicates with their employees. This can be in the form of announcements, emails, memos and so on. When communicating with your employees you want to be professional and clear above all. There should be no room for misunderstandings and you should be able to answer all questions.
Internal lateral communication is between employees in the workplace. This can range from emails to instant messaging, to chatting. This is usually the most frequent kind of communication in any given workplace and is essential to success. Everyone needs to be on the same page and these pathways should remain clear for people to communicate within and between departments.
The last type of business communication is external communication. This is anything having to do with communication with 3rd parties to your business. This can be clients, customers, vendors, etc. One should always remember that when they participate in any external communication they are representing the company.
Benefits of Great Business Communication
We’ve all had our work emails stuffed to the brim with irrelevant information. With so much of our day-to-day operations being conducted through email, this can lead to big setbacks in productivity. People inevitably have to sort through their inbox to find what's important so they can get to work. Do what you can as a leader to cut down on the noise in the inbox, make sure there are no unnecessary company-wide emails going around that just add to the bulk. It's also worth investing in some sort of instant messaging platform such as Slack. If there are questions that can be easily answered, this is a much faster way to get it done. This way the inbox can remain focused on the important things.
When you have perfected your internal business communication skills you may also see employee turnover go down. This goes back to internal upward communication that we mentioned earlier. If an employee feels like they can easily get in touch with their managers when they have a problem, that employee is much more likely to be happy in their position. Even knowing that you understand the day-to-day struggles and are working towards solutions can go a long way in terms of employee retainment. If this path of communication is clear, the company will be better for it. You will stay abreast of any issues as soon as they come up, and your employees will feel heard. Consider keeping this communication flowing by prompting your employees by asking for feedback or suggestions.
Having good external communication is equally as important. When it comes to clients and customers, there should be no doubt about how they should reach you. Whether it be through phone, email or something else should always be clear. Depending on your industry, this communication method may be defined by the other party. If you are working to try to please clients, perhaps they prefer communicating through a phone conversation. Whatever it is, it just has to be clear and defined. The same goes for vendors. While they are essentially working for you, it is still important to be on the same page. Make sure any 3rd party that you are in communication with always knows when and how to reach you.
You should never assume that something is known in communication. If there are any unspoken assumptions, do you best to bring them out to the open. Sometimes, a focused talk with an employee can solve a lot of communication problems. If you believe there has been an internal misunderstanding or gap in communication, eradicate the issue by setting a time and place to talk it out. Make sure you listen before you speak and let the other person know you hear them. A simple, “I hear you, how can we improve this?” can go a long way. And in the end, you will have higher employee satisfaction throughout and better company culture.
If your business is growing and you need help to fund expansion or even a communications manager, First Union Lending can get you the funding you need. Click here or call now to talk to one of our representatives about how we can improve your business today!