Effective communication is essential for any business hoping to compete in today’s complex market. You want to be heard above the crowd. Likewise, your clients want to know that you’re listening to their needs and desires. By opening up new and inventive forms of communication, you will help ensure that clients never walk away feeling like they’ve not been heard.
In understanding the role effective communication plays in the business world, you must first recognize the two main categories through which professionals communicate: internal and external communications. Each category can then be subdivided into different channels used to facilitate open dialogue between the parties. For example, internal communication includes face-to-face meetings, dialogue between peers, internal emails, memos, and newsletters.
External communication is far more complex. It includes any and all forms of communication between the company and outside sources. All advertising, sales and marketing information, PR statements, news releases, and blogs can be included as external communication channels. Unfortunately, many of these are decisively one sided and do not allow for both parties to communicate reciprocally. Companies often don’t know how the clients will respond to a new idea, product, or services for extended periods of time.
In order for effective communication to occur, both parties must be listened to and understood. Communication cannot be one sided. Regardless of whether the parties are individuals or businesses, each must play an active role. Active listening should be practiced allowing the members to process and ask questions about the information presented. By actively listening to the other side, each person verifies they fully understand the data. This prevents a plethora of misunderstandings.
In today’s hectic world, people don’t often have the opportunity to sit down together for a leisurely chat. All too often people must communicate across broad divides trying to bridge the gap with modern technology. In that regard, email, texting, cell phones, and video chats have begun to successfully address the problem yet they leave one glaring hole to fill. Not all information can be easily passed through the previously mentioned devices. Suppose you are working on a technical project in which you’d like to gather some feedback from a client. Perhaps it is a specific project for them. They want to see the sketches you’ve been working on. Enter a virtual fax service. These services allow you to send any document directly from your email to the fax machine of the recipient. You don’t have to worry about losing any of the technical detail of the work because the fax service will capture the image in full size. This preserves all your original data perfectly and allows the client to visualize the concept in real time. Best of all, a virtual fax service lets you fax documents directly from your mobile phone as well. There’s no need for you to have a fax machine.