I am typing this from Huxleys, a cozy café in Heathrow airport that just served me a very tasty veggie breakfast. I’m my way to Lagos to work with executives from one of the top financial institutions in West Africa.
You might wonder why I would travel all the way from my home in Cork, Ireland to Nigeria. It’s not simply because Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, it’s because these executives “GET IT.”
They understand what I confidently tell everyone:
Improving Communications, improves the bottom line for EVERY BUSINESS.”
Recently, an executive who participated in a strategic communications workshop I gave, invited me to speak at a conference geared toward tech educators. At first, the marketing team offered some push-back saying, “but she’s not in the tech industry….” In the strict sense, that’s true. But I do have a variety of tech-industry clients who all understand that communicating effectively crosses all industries. All geographic boundaries.
No matter what business you are in, you must communicate to sell your products or services. I’ll give you a quick review.
1. Phone calls.
Seems too basic, doesn’t it? But how many times have you rambled when you should have been succinct? I hear a lot from clients who work in multi-nationals – and struggle with cultural speaking styles, pronunciation, word-choice, etc. If you’re spending time writing an email to clarify the points made during a phone call, you’re not efficiently and effectively communicating.
While personal life may be through Snap Chat, Instagram and Twitter, a lot of business correspondence is still being sent via email. How many issues do you raise in a single email? How are you accommodating for the fact that you’re not able to use tone of voice and body language to help get your messages across? And unless you’re Hillary Clinton, your organization is probably able to track and archive everything you send as part of their system. And yet, the strategy and methodology that should support these messages is practically always overlooked.
3. Meeting management.
They are still a necessary evil for most organizations, so why not purposefully create a system to make meetings run in a more smooth, effective, and dare I say it, funway? Meetings are a great way to engage people and they’re too often run in a perfunctory, going-through-the-motions way. This can and should be addressed.
4. Internal presentations.
Notice here I specified “internal” presentations. Professionals often make the mistake that unless they’re presenting to clients or an external audience, they don’t need to be strategic or have polish. Wrong! Every time you open your mouth is a chance to practice effective and engaging communication. Your peers and colleagues see you all the time. What do they see? How are you leading? Internal presentations are critical for career building. Take them seriously!
The list goes on and on and includes areas that perhaps you are accustomed to consider as “communications oriented”: Customer service, external presentations and media relations come quickly to mind. But what about thought-leadership? Taking ownership of developing your own executive brand?
We’re so busy speaking and writing to each other, we take the art and science of “Communications” for granted.
If you think you already have it down. Think again.
Last week, as I participated in the European Tech Summit in Cork, Ireland, I was struck by how much I learned– in spite of the lackluster delivery from too many of the presenters.
Renowned blogger and Forbes contributor, Meghan M. Biro summed it up at the conference when she said,
We’re all human. Connect as a human and build your community from there.”
I agree. And it takes training, time and practice.
As a veteran CNN correspondent, campaign manager and international communications consultant, it has taken me decades to become an “Expert.” And because I understand that communications is a life-long learned skill, I am still excited about learning something new every day.
Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.