By Abhi Golhar
Businesses tend to take off when they have a team that works well as individuals, but also together. A reliable system of communication is a requirement for such a coordinated team. My passion project involves enhancing nurse practitioner medical education, which requires having a group that's open, honest, and communicates our exact successes and failures daily. This begs the question: How do you make communication an anchor of your business? Here are a few ways to develop a successful internal communication system:
Outline Communication Standards Early
During the initial part of your communication transformation plan, review some general rules and standards with your team. These rules can include how to respond to emails, coordinate on projects and handle out-of-office emergencies. We recently onboarded an employee who is great on the phone, has an amazing personality and is solution-oriented. But, without fully understanding what occurs first, second and third in a student's onboarding process with our company and the associated paperwork that's signed, they are bound to spin their wheels and lose momentum. Not only should you present these standards to the team, but you should act them out on a regular basis. Presenting these examples will demonstrate the value of your concepts to your staff, which will make them more likely to adopt them individually.
Keep the Message Direct and Simple
Details are important, but never add too many that the message becomes overwhelming. You can use great buzzwords and rich sales-targeted messages, but note that redundant or superfluous information distorts the meaning of the message. Balance that fancy term out with a mix of more direct words to maintain simplicity.
The dictionary continues to expand, and people use many more words in daily conversation today than in generations past. Some of these words may have multiple meanings, which can create misinterpretation and miscommunication in projects. If you are writing a memo or set of instructions on a particular project, avoid using any words that may create confusion or have multiple meanings. That helps keep your messages consistent and clear. You won't have to waste precious time going back and explaining things.
Take Advantage of Mobile Technology
Conducting modern business means being punctual and efficient. In the communication realm, this means using text messages, sending out emails and organizing with Slack. Realistically, many employees can overlook their texts and procrastinate in responding to emails. However, if it's mandatory to use a specific platform for responses, then urgent situations can be defused easily. For our team, if there is an urgent student issue, it's escalated using Slack, where all members are expected to invest a few minutes to meet the needs of the student and solve the challenge. This method is nonintrusive but the message retains a tone that conveys the sense of urgency so it isn't ignored.
Create a Two-Way Communication Line
Communication is not always about delivering messages or commands to others. There is value in listening and digesting what others have to say. Actively listening can help you obtain information, understand and learn from a different perspective. Pay adequate attention to the speaker, repeat the information you are receiving and provide feedback and questions. This is also important with clients: Investing the time to listen to their needs to go above and beyond when providing a solution is exactly where we're seeing substantial growth every quarter.
The advice presented can be helpful toward establishing a more consistent and valuable culture of communication at your business. With such a system integrated, your company has a better chance at adapting to the challenges of the modern business environment. Consider these ideas as you plan your next conference or team meeting.
Abhi Golhar is host of the daily radio show, Real Estate Deal Talk, and managing partner of Summit & Crowne, a real estate investment firm.