Poor communication is an increasingly costly problem for businesses large and small, alienating both prospective customers and internal employees.
Retaining strong communication links with customers and prospects has always been a challenge for businesses, yet as the workforce becomes increasingly decentralised and more firms offer their staff flexible working arrangements, communication is rapidly becoming a make-or-break issue from an employment angle too.
“The challenge is to identify and adopt a communication approach that helps you communicate with clarity every time,” management consultants Davina Stanley and Gerard Castles of Clarity Thought Partners told My Business.
One of the most common problems they see among their business clients – regardless of the size of the business – is impatience, which they liken to getting ready, firing and then aiming.
The consequence of such a scattergun approach is inevitably that the number and significance of mistakes drastically increases, or that the point of the message is lost on its intended audience.
Ms Stanley and Mr Castles recommend a three-step approach to communication: clarifying the purpose from the outset, identifying not just your audience but specifically who in that audience will take action in response to your message, and only then consider the best method of delivering that message.
Another common problem, according to the pair, is time investment that adds no real value.
“We work with organisations of all sizes and hear similar complaints from leaders. Too much time is spent editing other people’s communication, which feels like ‘busy work’ rather than adding real value.”
Recent PR headaches for major companies, including CBA and Woolworths, demonstrate the potential fallout of ill-conceived communication strategies, or strategies that are poorly executed.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.