One of the cornerstones of any successful business is a strong and successful communications strategy. This begins with a healthy culture of internal communications, of course, but also with an effective plan for communicating with the outside world: your market, your community, and possibly even wider society, depending on what you do.
There is a need to help communications teams at law firms, corporate offices, retailers, and even within public services, to improve their overall communications output. Below are some ways that those improvements can happen.
1. Make Time for Team Members to Share Concerns
When it comes to internal communications, one of the biggest sources of ire among staff is the feeling of not being heard when things are going wrong. Many employees have suggestions as to how things can be improved within the company, some of them very simple, practical and easily actionable, and some less so.
Taking the time to give opportunities for people to share their concerns and ideas will go a long way to helping employees feel more valued. On top of that, explanations as to why certain things can’t be changed as people want can help people to see things differently and regain a more positive mindset at the very least. It all comes back to honest communication.
2. Come Together Regularly for Problem Sharing and Solving Meetings
Continuing the above point, one way that these internal struggles and conflicts can be solved is with a simple meeting where problems are shared and solutions proposed. Coming up with things that are wrong is easy enough, but it is a good mental and professional exercise for your team to work together positively to come up with solutions that are workable and acceptable to all sides.
3. Always Explain Why Decisions Are Being Made
Next, for both internal and external communications, another key piece of advice is that any and all important decisions have to be accompanied by a detailed and reasoned explanation as to why they have been taken. When businesses fail to do this — and many do — they are simply asking for frustration and discord to foment among their workforce, and for dissatisfaction to start growing among their customer base.
When you offer a frank, honest, and reasonable explanation as to why a decision was taken, a policy changed, or a new rule introduced, then you will invariably assuage people’s concerns and frustrations. The source of their anger is most often the lack of any apparent reasoning for a decision to be made. Some people will always disagree, but if you’ve explained your reasoning, then you’ve done as much as you can.
4. Make Feedback Constructive Rather than Critical
When offering feedback to colleagues, subordinates, and others with whom you maintain a professional relationship, follow a rule of constructive criticism rather than purely critical remarks. You might think in your mind that something was terrible, and wish to express that. The trouble there is that in doing so, you aren’t communicating anything particularly useful to the listener.
If you want things to get better, it’s like we said earlier about having meetings where problems are brought up along with suggested solutions. Constructive feedback and criticism points to where things aren’t working, but also accompanies that with suggestions on how to make it work.
5. Put Fresh Eyes on All Written Content
When communications content is created for external consumption, it’s imperative that a set of fresh eyes be saved to cast a final look. Why? Fresh eyes not only help to spot any errors in the piece, but they can read the content as if they are its intended recipient, not having seen any of it prior. This allows them to check that the message is clear and well communicated, and that there’s nothing that could be misconstrued.
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