Although your job title may not include the words "PR" or "marketing," every business professional's success depends largely on the ability to effectively communicate.
Whether it's with the masses via the news media or one-on-one with an employee or key stakeholder, committing to these three New Year's resolutions will improve your communication skills, and your ability to be an successful professional.
1. Listen. Find ways to solicit honest feedback from individuals and groups of people who influence your business, and then take time to consider it. This is as true when preventing a crisis from making its way to the news media as it is avoiding losing valuable staff members due to low employee morale.
Advance planning and proactive efforts to address potential issues are much more effective than reacting to problems that boil over because they went unheard. Listening is also a great way to find out what is working so positive efforts can continue.
2. Be Responsive. Even if you don't have an immediate response or solution to offer, let the person or group or people know they have been heard and you are working on an answer. Just as we have to respect news reporters on a tight deadline and get back to them as soon as possible (even if just to say we're working on their request), we must let a customer immediately know their complaint has been received and is being addressed.
Granted, your ultimate answer may not be well received by everyone; however, people appreciate knowing they have been heard and understood, and that can go a long way in maintaining healthy business relationships.
3. Be Mindful of with Whom You're Communicating. Before crafting and delivering a message, whether verbal or written, consider the recipient(s). The way you'd deliver news to your Tampa staff that your company is relocating to Atlanta should be vastly different than how you'd tell the Atlanta news media you're moving to the area.
Every person or group of people has their own beliefs, opinions, priorities, communication style and particular context as it relates to you or your organization. Crafting messages while keeping this in mind will enable you to provide information that is more accessible and understandable to the recipients.