How to Improve Small Business CommunicationPosted by Factor Funding Co. on December 18, 2012
Communication is an essential part of any successful business. However, when economic issues or employee difficulties arise, it's easy for small business owners to struggle with effective communication skills. Improving communication can make the difference between having a happy staff or a miserable workforce. It can also drastically affect customer retention. Here are a few suggestions for how to improve small business communication.
1. Block out distracting influences.
A common barrier to effective communication in the workplace is the number of external influences that may prevent entrepreneurs from focusing on their pressing issues. Naturally, time-wasters such as social networking sites, e-mail, and Internet surfing should be reserved for after work. However, it's possible for business owners to be distracted by simply attending to other business concerns. To prevent this, it's a good idea to give attention to one thing at a time, so that each issue receives the owner's full attention. This makes it easier for the company owner to think about how to respond and to make sure that his or her message is conveyed clearly.
2. Respond to concerns quickly.
What should you do when a pressing issue arises? Put away any other pursuits and give the matter your complete attention. Think about how best to respond to the matter and then do so right away. For example, if the concern involves an employee complaint, make sure you listen attentively, ask appropriate questions, and then develop a response plan immediately. Even if you need time to decide how to address the situation, inform the employee that his or her concerns have been heard and that you will take action as soon as possible. Doing so will help to assuage his or her feelings and cut down on the possibility of misunderstandings.
3. Use planning to make meetings more efficient.
Corporate meetings have gotten quite a reputation as mindless wastes of time. But, if you spend enough time planning for your meeting in advance, you can cut down on the wastefulness of these meetings and make them productive. First, create a specific agenda to cover during the meeting and keep it brief. Plan what you'll say about each point and then allow for questions from the staff as needed. Make sure that everyone's concerns have been heard and then dismiss the meeting. Follow up with additional questions via email or office memos.
You can avoid the communication troubles that plague many modern businesses. By using these few suggestions on how to improve small business communication, you can keep your company running smoothly at all times.