Starting your business may be a one-man show, but eventually, it will be time for the on boarding of new partners, colleagues, and team members. With each new individual comes a new collaboration, and with that, perhaps new challenges in communication.
Every person has their own unique method of communication. One of the most essential qualities every good business owner displays is the ability to listen to, adhere to, and mediate between these many diverse personalities.
While each situation may play out differently, there are some common communication gaffs that can be expected universally, no matter the team, no matter the industry. More importantly, there is also always a fix!
- First and foremost, is the delicate issue of balance. The pendulum swings two ways- too much communication and too little. Be discerning of what you share to avoid clogging up inbox’s and overwhelming your team. Keep notes of what you want to communicate throughout the day, then send everything out at one time. Conversely, be wary of not being informative, and essentially alienating your team. Try your best to uphold transparency and keep people feeling connected.
- Misunderstandings lead to misinformation. Or is it the other way around? Either way, the danger here is the (mis) itself. Poor communication breeds both of the above and can lead to conflict between team members, late or missed deadlines, poor productivity, frustration – the list goes on. Avoid the two (mis’) by being simple, clear, and to the point in all communication. Give directives, be assertive, and always confirm that you are being understood. Don’t be afraid to reiterate or resend information in a new format; repetition can help cement understanding.
- Location, location, location. With so many new developments these days, you may find that your team is more scattered (literally!) than ever. Remote work has its benefits, but one downfall is that it can create communication issues. To avoid this snag, work on setting up standing meeting times and holding to them. It is your responsibility to keep the team connected, to keep freelancers in the loop, and to facilitate the best communication methods possible.
- Failure to listen. This one is big. It’s a common problem because most of us think this is not a problem! Actively listening is crucial to avoid communication issues. Reacting, not responding, is very common. Try to encourage your team to actively listen by demonstrating the practice yourself. Your team look to you for guidance, and being an effective communicator is no different. Find your own strengths and be a mentor for others.
- Always remember to set expectations, no matter what form of communication you are engaging in. This will provide a great base line for what needs to be accomplished and will allow better assessment for you as to the effectiveness of the exchange. Remember – communication is not always face-to-face. Emails, voice messages, newsletters, blog posts, social media messages- these are all forms of communication whether they be between your team, your clients, or your potential audience.
Pay close attention and craft each of these messages with that in mind.