Liana Zavo is a publicist, PR media mogul, author, impact speaker and the founder of ZavoMedia PR Group, a global public relations firm.
Since the pandemic reshaped the business realm, leaders have realized the significance of good communication in keeping the organization functional despite a crisis. Although technology has made everything readily accessible, many managers remain challenged in conquering communication hurdles, with remote work being a prominent part of the equation.
The business industry knows that effective communication can bring powerful benefits, including mitigating conflict and improving employee engagement. Yet, I believe only a few have truly practiced the idea and harnessed the results. Factoring in the implications of health protocols that can impact attendance and face-to-face interactions, mastering the art of communicating efficiently to minimize mistakes, especially for small businesses, has become difficult to overcome.
Fortunately, there are communications techniques companies can use to solve current issues and dilemmas, as well as remain relevant and adapt to changes. After years of managing my public relations company, I’ve realized that good communication should be a strong backbone of every organization. It constantly needs adjustments and improvements along the way.
I’ve found the following seven ways can help leaders maximize communication in their small businesses.
1. Create a safe and trusting environment.
Managers who create a communicative culture with transparency can influence workers’ efficiency and build trust. In my experience, team members are also more engaged when performing their designated tasks because they know they are valued and supported by their leaders.
To begin building this type of culture, consider implementing an open-door policy and encouraging workers to share their thoughts about the company, work culture and other aspects. Their insights and perspectives are valuable resources for managers to know which rules need adjustments to promote productivity and a better working environment. Managers can start by having one-on-one meetings with each member weekly. However, ensure you also designate a scheduled time for open-door sessions so that everyone can still focus on their own work.
2. Take advantage of communication workshops to identify communication patterns.
People express themselves differently when faced with difficult situations and challenges. By knowing how others communicate, the chances for miscommunication decrease. After completing communications workshops with my team, I’ve discovered employees’ different preferences when it comes to communication. Asking new members about their communication options is one way of understanding them better.
Consider holding a communications workshop yourself. And, based on what you learn, make minor adjustments as needed to convey a message that is easiest for your employees to understand. Small businesses should use communication programs even when the company is in its infancy. Problems are easier to handle when everyone knows how to communicate one another’s needs and manage conflicts.
3. Create more opportunities by knowing the worker’s talents and skills.
Each of your team members might have undiscovered potential that would allow them to become a significant asset to the organization. Team-building exercises are great activities you can use to assess each member’s capabilities. While the world is adjusting to the new normal, virtual team-building activities are great alternatives for keeping everyone connected. Office trivia and remote scavenger hunts, for example, are fun events that can promote camaraderie and communication among members.
In small businesses, the workforce is limited, and there is a high chance that the staff juggles multiple roles. Knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses makes it easier for leaders to make decisions and solve problems that will improve productivity.
4. Strengthen ties by encouraging collaboration.
While every person has a different role in the business, collaboration creates more opportunities for workers to communicate effectively with colleagues and business partners. Not everyone can converse naturally with others, but through collaborative opportunities, employees can gain more exposure and develop communication skills that will become handy in the future.
5. Use a platform that keeps your team connected.
With remote work becoming more popular, the potential for miscommunication and errors among leaders and colleagues grows. Small businesses are no exception. Establishing a centralized system in the early stages can help ensure smoother operations when the company starts to expand. A single platform that provides information and conducts virtual meetings with business partners seamlessly can help save you time, energy and money.
However, managers should first identify the needs and pain points of the company before choosing a platform. Conducting a survey can be an insightful tool to gather data, which can help leaders find a solution that best fits their business.
6. Encourage employees to share their ideas.
Provide instances where workers can share ideas and creative suggestions that could benefit the business. Ask questions and explore different angles to gather ample information. The more brains working on a project, the more options managers can gain in developing a concrete plan driven for success.
7. Use surveys and social media to improve communication with clients.
Business communication doesn’t end within the company’s four walls; it also extends to consumers, who likely have plenty of feedback about your products and services. Brands can strengthen customer relations through surveys and social media listening to track customer feedback and create social media campaigns. A popular example is leveraging user-generated content with innovative and comical responses. Not only is this cost-friendly for small businesses, but it also creates engagement and encourages more customers to post more content, thus increasing the brand’s reach and publicity.
As small businesses continue to thrive in various industries, leaders should take the initiative to teach and guide team members in refining their communication skills. Good communication should be a basic foundation in every organization, as it can lead everyone to a more engaged, productive and successful future.