Any business’ ability to communicate effectively is essential to its success. In the workplace, employees often work in teams and must frequently communicate verbally or in writing.
Effective communication improves all professional jobs, even though some roles can call for it more than others. In this episode of Let’s Talk, we discuss the benefits of excellent communication for businesses, the qualities of effective communicators, and some tips for improving communication.
Lisl Pietersz, Transition and Communication Coach, University of Sydney
“Here are my top tips – as a seasoned communications professional and communication coach – to become an effective communicator for your business, whatever its size:
“Set your purpose. Decide what it is you are trying to achieve with your communication, as your purpose will always dictate the content and style you use. For example, are you seeking to persuade, inform, educate, or describe?
“Know your audience and choose the best channel. Be clear on who you are talking to and what they want and need to know. From there, you can decide what is the best channel to reach your audience.
“Build and share authentic messages and stories about your business. In general, customers want to know about your brand or the service they pay for, as well as your values, and if these are in sync with them. This is where creating key messages about your business, and using them consistently, comes in handy.
“Listen and test your communication. Listen to feedback from your customers as their insights can help to improve your communication. A good option is to test some of your messaging before you take any action.
“You can become an effective communicator for your business by following these tips, just don’t forget to be patient with yourself!”
Ryan Williams, Playford Professor of Business Growth, Australian Centre for Business Growth
“Communication with employees is a key responsibility for every leader.
- Pay attention to body language. Studies show non-verbal communication is critical to meaning and mood.
- Be proficient in multiple communication modes for different people and scenarios because people have varied ways of taking in information e.g. draw graphs and use metaphors.
- Make sure clear decision rules empower the team and enable quick decisions.
- Develop and share a written plan, with quarterly reports of progress. They help align people with company direction and goals.
- If employees “don’t get” what you are saying work to understand the reasons. Perhaps it was a miscommunication needing to be re-explained or a lack of trust causing disbelief. Figuring out the root of it can help the conversation get back on track.
“Remember American-Austrian educator Peter Drucker’s words: ‘The communication takes place in the mind of the listener, not the speaker’.”
Kristie Twomey, Vice President, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Genesys
“As organisations continue to solidify remote and hybrid work, it has never been more important to maintain connection in the workplace. Technology has provided endless opportunities for businesses and team leaders to create open lines of communication and nurture employee engagement. However, in many cases, employees still tend to feel a disconnect and leaders are left seeking to create a shared language – and this is of empathy.
“Business and team leaders need to recognise that prioritising the mental wellbeing of employees will enable businesses to thrive in the long term. The foundation for a healthy and connected work environment is built on a culture of empathy. Leading with empathy involves attentive listening, relating and compassion. This can simply be through having regular check-ins with team members by asking “How are you feeling?” and giving them a space to feel heard and understood.
“Authentic, transparent, two-way communication should be a key pillar in any employee engagement strategy. At Genesys, we provide the tools to have real conversations around flexible work arrangements, development opportunities and career aspirations, which are critical to building meaningful connections and ensuring employees feel valued and appreciated in the workplace.”
Doriena Parsons, National Head of Strategic Communications, Moore Australia
“The most important thing to be an effective communicator is to make sure that the delivery of your message matches your target audience’s preferred style, tone, culture, channel and ultimately adds value.
- Be succinct: don’t give War and Peace when a bullet point would do. No one has time to read your novel! Think: How can I say this better, but in fewer words?
- Use the appropriate channel: not everything needs to be put into an email. We all get enough of those! Think: Can I make a phone call instead of writing an email?
- Modulate your language: Use the appropriate words and language for your audience and get rid of any corporate buzzwords.
- Use the appropriate tone: your audience will have expectations about how they would like to be spoken to. Do your research and make sure you match this.
“And finally: Less is more. whatever you want to communicate, make sure it is worth communicating. Whether email, sales pitch or webinar: does your message add value to the recipient, or not really? If it doesn’t add value then perhaps reconsider whether it needs sending in the first place.”
Vijay Sundaram, Official Member of Forbes Business Development Council and Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho
“Flexibility is critical, and the ability to adapt to changes and maintain cohesive business processes hinges upon great communication.
“Today, people are more considered and conscientious in the businesses and brands they choose to interact with than ever before. The deeper and more meaningful connections with people – customers and employees – the better business results you drive.
“Businesses also underestimate how powerful their ‘why’ is – it is important to ask questions that start with “why” because the answer to those questions is what can set you apart from the competition in the eyes of your customers and employees. Businesses that communicate their purpose and stay true to their ‘why’ will be better placed to build strong connections.
“Understanding your customers is critical to communicating effectively. People don’t only buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Customers now demand greater diversity and transparency from brands and place greater importance on a business’ purpose. When customers feel genuinely valued and understood, rather than a commodity, their loyalty will grow.
“Lastly, use technology and data to drive personalised, insight-driven experiences. This not only benefits your customers but it can also boost your team’s knowledge of your products and processes.”
Shiva Pillay, General Manager and Senior Vice President APJ, Veeam Software
“Having the ability to communicate effectively is the foundation of building a reliable business. Knowing your objectives and audience as a business leader can help shape your communication style and achieve a better outcome. Personally, I believe in being an active listener and being engaged in conversations. By interacting and seeking to understand the needs of your employees and stakeholders before sharing your own thoughts, it builds a better relationship. Having trust and being reliable also helps one become an effective communicator, reassuring your audience that you have their best interests in mind. At the end of the day, the industry you’re in does not matter – we are all in the business of interacting with people and building professional relationships. Shifting your communication style and creating that mutual understanding will go a long way.”
Jonathan Ryan, Regional Vice Manager ANZ, Infobip
“We’ve all been taught the golden rules for effective communication: convey information clearly and use active listening. The same rules apply to your business. In today’s increasingly complex digital world, being an effective communicator for your business is even more critical – and it requires a strategy to get it right. You can improve the customer experience with the right communication strategy while driving operational efficiencies.
“The first step is to break down data and communication silos; systems and people should work together to enable clear communication. Secondly, automate what you can. You can nurture positive relationships with customers by harnessing AI and intelligent automation without missing a beat. Critically, you’ll need to listen to your customers to connect with them on their terms and on the platforms they prefer to create authentic, effective interactions.
“This can be done simply through omni-channel communication platforms, allowing businesses to build connective communications between brand and customer by utilising data.”
Rogier Roelvink, Customer Strategy Director, Oracle Construction and Engineering
“Successfully navigating and completing projects in the built environment involves many connected stakeholders, and success is determined by making interconnected decisions every day, at every level, across multiple organisations. As such, communication is key.
“Communication can mean many things, and one key to success is storytelling. Stakeholders feel most content and motivated if we’re part of a compelling story. Organisational stories have twists and turns, a hero, a villain, and a quest. Are your staff, partners, and stakeholders aligned to the story, believe in your quest, and know how they play a part to help the hero achieve success?
“Despite huge advances in communication technologies and instant access to information, a prevailing excuse still can be “if I only knew.” In the modern work environment, smart technology platforms are the single biggest tool available today to keep teams synchronised and connected. These platforms provide visibility, order, and structure in data and information, tracking, and reporting to stay the course. Using technology and data can make your story compelling and engaging can enable the narrative that team members and partners need to complete their quest successfully.”
Linda Chen, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Cyara
“The best leaders are often brilliant communicators; experts at taking very strategic concepts and relaying them simplistically and directly. I’ve always found leveraging the ‘power of three’ helpful. This involves boiling an idea down to three main concepts or takeaways to help people digest and retain information, then repeat at least seven times in a variety of ways.
“But effective communication is not only about conveying your message. It’s also about listening, exchanging ideas and being responsive to input and feedback from others.
“It’s also important to remember that words matter. Being thoughtful with the words you choose and their nuances is part of the art of meaningful communication. Weaving words into a story that speaks to people’s hearts and minds paints a picture and grabs attention.
“My final tip is to use analogies wherever you can as they can really help take complex ideas and make them relatable to your audience.”
Sachin Bhatia, Chief Marketing Officer – Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, Asia Pacific
“In today’s elaborate business communication landscape, creating simple messages has become the most complex & obvious issue for marketers. As we face a nosier and busier communication landscape, simplicity has become key.
“It is true that the human mind receives & consumes messages in a storytelling format – stories that are simple and easy to consume yet interesting to understand. I call it the “Peel-the-Onion” technique, and it’s an effective way to achieve logical business communication between “Manager & Employee”, “Brand & Consumer”, or a ‘Seller and a Buyer’.
“It’s important to layer your conversations. First, provide context – it can bother audiences when they don’t feel like they have all the information. Second, mention how it’s relevant to the audience, which is the core of the message. The third layer is what is the unique aspect and what actions are needed from the audience.
“While it sounds simple – practice makes perfect.”
Nina Thomas, Founder and Director, Harmonic Advisory
“My top tips for people to become an effective communicator for their businesses include:
- Identify your areas of focus for your project (each project will be different). This is based on the business goals and desired outcomes.
- Identify the priority contacts – who do you know and who do you need to know to make this successful – inside and outside the business.
- Work out what you need to say – use the PREP method as a guide – Point, Reason, Example, Point. It only needs to be point form, not a speech or War and Peace.
- Start reaching out to people – 1:1 first, then build on that using social channels to provide further validation, credibility and reach.
- Keep at it, be consistent and be aware of message fatigue
“Finally, people need to allow time to get better at communicating. It really doesn’t happen overnight, but things change very quickly once they start – many people are too scared to start. They need to listen to what people are saying to them, take it on board (and sometimes discard it and find a better person to engage with) and to find a sustainable method that allows ongoing communication, not just one off comms.”
Sam Kothari, Head of Growth ANZ, Airwallex
“Whether you’re looking to gain senior management buy-in or build rapport in your team, being an effective communicator means asking yourself the following: Who is my audience? And what is the outcome I’m trying to achieve? Once you’ve defined the ‘who’ and the ‘what’, here are my top tips for better conversations at work:
- Listen actively: I think the biggest mistake is the most obvious, speaking more than you listen. While it can be tempting to interrupt or repeat yourself, active listening is key to building trust and confidence – both in your leadership, and within your team.
- Timing: Leading a business means having tough conversations, so the ability to gauge the mind-set of your audience can be really helpful. Choose your moment carefully, even if that means delaying or changing your communication style to suit.
- Empathise: Often, people just want to be heard. I’ve found putting yourself in the shoes of others almost always leads to better conversations and outcomes.
“Ultimately, these steps must be grounded in genuine care for the individual, team or business. Your message will be more effective if your audience truly believes you care about them.”
Kristyn Wallace, Regional Vice President APJ, Emarsys
“Many businesses believe that a channel-focused strategy (having a presence physically, socially, and digitally) to communicate with consumers will allow them to tout themselves as highly communicative. This thinking is misguided. Instead, making a transition to a customer-centric strategy will enable businesses to communicate effectively to consumers as well as become successful communicators of their own work. A customer-centric strategy involves three factors that your and any business should implement if you want to communicate, successfully.
- The Power of Personalisation in Email: As one of the most effective ways to gain real trust and build business affinity, personalised email can help shift your business’ focus towards forming a message that customers want to hear instead of the message you want to send.
- Integrating the customer experience: Whether consumers engage with your business online, in-person, or both, it’s important to have consistent interactions and cohesive messaging across all communications. This limits any confusion that the consumer may develop about your business and what you stand for.
- Notifications: Sending consumers a notification is one of the most common ways to get their attention. While it can be tricky if your business isn’t careful about timing and relevance, sending notifications automatically increases traffic.
“The key to effective communication is keeping your customers at the forefront. Understanding your business’ purpose is easy because you live and breathe it each and every day. It takes a strategic, customer-centred approach to drive purpose amongst your audience to peak interest and create loyalty.”
Libby Woolnough, Group Head, Corporate Reputation and Brand Purpose, WE Communications
“The demand on businesses and leaders to be more transparent and accountable has never been stronger. Audience expectations continue to soar and effective communication is increasingly linked to both reputational and commercial success.
“Regardless of platform or audience, these fundamental tips will help you use every opportunity to its full potential:
- So What?
It’s not enough to just say what you’re doing or what you believe in, engagement will only come by explaining the ‘So What?’ factor. Why does it matter to your audience, their lives, and your business.
- Once is never enough
General rule of thumb is that a message needs to be heard seven times before it sinks it. You need to deliver your message consistently across multiple channels, multiple times.
- Don’t just tell, ask
The most effective communication will come from effective listening first. Your stakeholders want you to consult them on the burning issues that matter the most to them, what motivates them, or what they’re looking for from your business.
- Back yourself
Whether market research, customer feedback, employee surveys, or case studies, data is critical in influencing your audience. Make your point and then back it up with evidence.”
Lindsay Brown, VP of APAC, GoTo
“When a company is aligned on its goals, it can succeed with ease. Communicating the business’ vision with employees can ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities and encourage a discussion to see how the business aligns with their personal goals. This becomes vital during the age of employee empowerment and will contribute greatly to a strong workplace culture.
“Effective communication requires flexibility to be able to easily interact from different locations. Ensuring employees feel confident to message, call and collaborate from anywhere on any device with respect to each other’s boundaries leads to effective communication, and in turn, a synergetic business.”
Ros Weadman, Brand communication and reputation specialist, author of Enhance Your Reputation
“Paradoxically, in our overcommunicated world, communication is more important than ever. Here’s my top five tips for effective communication:
- Humanise your brand
Prioritise communication as part of customer experience because every phone call you don’t return still sends a strong message. Apply a relatability lens to content, ensure marketing collateral is accessibly written and make your message relevant to people’s lives today.
- Speak the language of your brand
Successful brands communicate with words and tonality aligned with their brand image. For example, if you’re a prestige brand like Mercedes-Benz, you speak the language of excellence with a confident tonality, consistent with a culture that values status and significance.
- Communicate what your brands stand for
Research shows that businesses which embrace and communicate a higher purpose beyond their profit-making purpose can give themselves a competitive edge and drive a more favourable reputation.
- Communicate your problem-solving value
Communicate your brand’s specialisation (measurable problem-solving value) and differentiation (unique product/service attributes) to position it as the most desirable alternative.
- Empower your people to be brand ambassadors
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is well-known for prioritising staff over customers, empowering them to be walking talking brand ambassadors that build company reputation.”
Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ, Deel
“The way we communicate has evolved as remote work has become more normalised. In fact, Deel’s H2 Global Hiring Report found that Australia is the APAC country with the most organisations hiring overseas remote workers. So while face-to-face collaboration and water cooler chats may be less frequent, many businesses have driven a culture of effective communication by implementing an asynchronous work strategy (this refers to work where people are dispersed across places and time zones).
“Asynchronous work includes creating crossover times when employees can collaborate on tasks, solve problems together, brainstorm, or simply catch up – the new virtual water cooler. Creating a simple template for handovers and setting expectations around meeting decorum (e.g. video on for everyone) ensures everyone is on a level playing field. Adopting the best tech, like communication collaboration tools and good quality microphones, will provide everyone with an effective way to collaborate. Lastly, making time for one-on-ones is crucial for maintaining strong bonds and creating safe spaces to catch up and check in.”
Brodie Haupt, Co-Founder and CEO, WLTH
“Effective communication is crucial for building trust both within and outside a company. It can help to prevent miscommunication, improve team happiness and foster collaboration and trust. Good communication takes practice and gets better with time and effort.
“Investors, customers, and employees all deserve a depth of transparency that only those in charge of a business can provide, so regular updates for all parties are a good way to start.
“Customers, for example, may have updates via a business’s website in the form of blog posts or a press release, or an email newsletter they can sign up to.
“In the case of investors, it could be regular email updates tailored specifically to give them an idea of upcoming plans and knowledge, that will convince them that continuing to invest in your business is an excellent idea.
“As for employees, setting up some form of online feedback portal, and staff emails providing updates and responses to feedback can help team members feel appreciated by their company and valued for the work they do.”
Erin Huckle, Founder, Chuckle Communications
“Communication is all about consistency and conversation. While it might feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself, it’s safe to assume that most people won’t have heard your message before. Don’t assume they know your key message, or your business’s purpose. Focus on how your communication can help your audience, and the problems you’re solving, rather than purely promotional messages.
“The conversation aspect of communicating for your business is about remembering that your audience is made up of real people. Speak and write in a way that sounds natural. Like you’re having a real conversation, and making a real connection. Acronyms, jargon or overly formal language are all major turn-offs for any audience. Keep it friendly. Keep it relatable. And keep it clear.”
James Campbell, Regional Manager ANZ, SnapLogic
“As the business world adapts to remote- and hybrid-style work arrangements, effective communication is especially key. Not only can it reinforce a sense of camaraderie, but it can also boost productivity and help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. However, being an excellent communicator doesn’t necessarily come naturally. But with practice, like any skill, improvements are guaranteed.
“Whether conversing in person or via email, avoid being long-winded. Keep your messages concise and friendly. If you are standing in front of a group, look approachable — smile, make eye contact and appear relaxed to ensure your message is well received. Research shows that your words only convey about 7% of what you’re trying to say; the other 93% is communicated through facial expression and tone of voice.
“Above all, remember the number one way to be an effective communicator is to be a good listener. Conversation is a two-way street. Make sure you’re actively listening to what the other person has to say and avoid interrupting them. And remember, every conversation can be used as an opportunity to improve.”
Kerrie Lawrence, Creative Director, Sound Images
“You’ve got a lot to do in your business – and little time to do it. So it’s easy to be tempted by the ease and flexibility communication technologies deliver. If we agree that effective communication should deliver the best outcome, the speediest option isn’t always the right option.
“There are touch points in your business relationships that do better when you prioritise a deeper connection over convenience:
- New client? Take the time to meet and create that human connection that only comes through face-to-face conversation.
- Client conversations? An email reply is great for communicating facts, but it’s not so great for building relationships. So delight your client by picking up the phone from time to time.
- Updates? We work with a supplier who delivers weekly project updates using Loom videos – a great option if you have a screen to share.
- Teamwork? Get together with your team to set goals they’ve helped create. An inclusive way to show how much each person is valued.
“So before you hit reply to that email, pause. Would this conversation deliver a better result if I picked up the phone? If I grabbed a coffee with this client or co-worker? A resounding yes.”
David Nemes, Regional Director APAC at Templafy
“With content taking on a more dynamic role in today’s digital-first workplace, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to effectively communicate. One of my main tips for becoming an effective communicator is to make sure you deliver consistent and authentic messages to your target audience.
“Customers expect more from the brands they interact with, and a consistent brand experience is a standard requirement. This means there is a heavy burden on all content, no matter the type, to have consistent messaging and imagery. Businesses that do not communicate consistently risk presenting a fractured brand identity to customers and this may convey a lack of credibility and equity within your customer base.
“To do this, it’s important that businesses implement the right technologies to ensure consistent communication with target audiences. Content enablement solutions ensure that your materials are current and that incorrect versions of company content don’t make it into the public domain. It’s incredibly important because even errors like typos or incorrect logos can hurt a business’s brand. By leveraging the capabilities of digital solutions, businesses can ensure that they communicate consistently, and in turn, effectively with audiences both internally and externally.”
Paul North, Senior Vice President APJ, Optimizely
“In today’s digital world, being an effective communicator is essential. To be a good communicator for your business, you must understand the needs and desires of your target audience by defining your audience and creating a targeted communications strategy.
“An effective communicator also personalises the interactions they have. By leveraging the right technologies, businesses can personally communicate to customers at scale by using approved customer data. This helps businesses to understand customer behaviour – including their preferences, motivations and any pain points.
“To achieve this, businesses can use digital experience platforms (DXP) to help build, manage and optimise digital customer journeys. By tailoring communication, businesses can demonstrate a deep understanding of customers which in turn cultivates genuine customer relationships. As digital communication channels continue to evolve and customer expectations continue to increase, developing these relationships, and communicating effectively with target audiences, will be the key to more effective business outcomes.”
Graham Glass, Founder and CEO, CYPHER LEARNING
“Effective communication is an important skill no matter what industry you work in, however, I believe that it is especially critical in the context of running a global business. At CYPHER LEARNING, our people work across 20+ countries and employees have to juggle different time zones when interacting with their colleagues. Not only that, but the broad mix of cultures also needs to be taken into consideration – so effective communication is absolutely key.
“With this in mind, CYPHER LEARNING has adopted a range of technologies and tools to communicate, both internally and with partners and clients. It is important to understand that this is only part of the process. We firmly believe that soft skills such as empathy, politeness, active listening, and being aware of each other’s differences, cultural or otherwise, are the real drivers of effective communication. We provide ongoing training and support for employees to better understand everyone’s role – within their specific department and as part of the company as a whole. When everyone is on the same page, whether you are an intern or part of the executive team, the company will benefit from consistent and coherent communication.”
Billy Loizou, Area Vice President, Amperity
“Communication is key in every relationship, including those with your customers. Yet, many organisations think they know their customers but continue treating them like strangers. Not only does that not add up, but it’s costing them big.
“Consider this: If you spend $10 million a year on targeted marketing but have a 25% duplication rate in your customer data (not uncommon!), you’re wasting $2.5 million. Yikes.
“Even more, without a clear, unified view of your customer; you’re building marketing campaigns and providing service based on incomplete, possibly inaccurate information.
“If you can’t see your customers as complete people, it’s hard to make them feel understood. And even harder to tailor communications, giving them what they want when they need it. Nowadays people expect good personalisation, and if you get it wrong; they’ll move on to a brand that can get it right.
“Strong identity resolution makes a unified customer view possible, which means no wasted money on duplicate marketing and sets the stage for happy repeat customers. And it’s absolutely key for businesses to become effective communicators.”
Danny Lessem, CEO, ELMO
“Good communication between employers and their staff is essential for workplace alignment, a fundamental factor in a business’s success. Organisations can implement a number of strategies and technologies to communicate effectively, ensuring staff feel informed, secure, and empowered.
“Businesses first need to make sure they understand their employees’ personal goals. Take for example the recent trend of ‘quiet quitting’ which is when an employee’s motivation drops and instead of giving 100% at work, they do the bare minimum to get by.
“If businesses communicate early and clearly to understand an employee’s priorities and the challenges they’re facing, they can adapt to work with the employee, rather than against. To be an effective communicator, the first key step is to listen. Organisations should facilitate channels of communication through regular 1:1 sessions between managers and their direct reports, as well as internal feedback surveys.
“Remember, the best communicators make others feel heard. They give people the chance to speak, listen closely, and respond with specific answers. They also instil confidence through their communication by being genuine and transparent.
“Transparency is a crucial ingredient for good communication. By fostering a culture of open and transparent communication, businesses will encourage a more engaging, creative and innovative workforce. When staff feel confident to share ideas freely, it opens the floor to more innovation.
“Finally, it’s about awareness. To become a better communicator, it’s important for business leaders to solicit feedback from others and find out how their ability to communicate is perceived. Only then can they take steps to improve. By continually learning and building on their skills, they can flourish as communicators and lead their teams to success.”
Amanda Lacey, Founder and Director, POPCOM
- “Audience. Consider your audience. Please don’t neglect your internal audience when making external announcements; they should be briefed in advance to know how to respond. If you service a multitude of communities, ensure your communications are in appropriate language formats.
- Channel. Consider appropriate channels. You may need to communicate through a variety of channels – such as a webinar, email, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube – all of these formats have their idiosyncrasies, and it is best to consider them for maximum impact.
- Frequency. Communicate more often than you currently are. This goes for everyone!
- Messaging. Take time in advance as a part of your strategic plan to establish a company tone of voice and hierarchy of messaging. Developing this and being well briefed will save you if you get caught in a situation where you are not ready for a curly question.
- Get to the point. If you have something important to say, make your point early. Don’t waffle.”
Bryan Finfrock, Director of Product Marketing, Cheetah Digital – a CM Group Solution
“Email is and will remain an essential channel for creating proximity and being able to communicate effectively with customers. In fact, according to Cheetah Digital’s 2022 Consumer Trends Index, email beats paid social and display advertising by up to 128% when it comes to driving sales. However, email alone is no longer enough and must be complemented with other customer-preferred channels, such as SMS and push notifications.”
“Today’s customers expect personalised messages from brands tailored to their unique preferences, and they want those messages to include useful and relevant information in real-time. Sending these automated communications in response to specific user actions (e.g.completing a purchase, opening an app, abandoning a cart, or reaching a loyalty program milestone) is a great way to effectively communicate with customers and keep them engaged with your brand.
“When brands send consumers what they want, when they want, companies not only show they care about their customers, they can increase purchases and ROI, as well as pave the way to achieving emotional loyalty.”
David Piggott, Managing Director ANZ, Jabra
“Jabra research found 84 per cent of knowledge workers believe collaboration technologies will help create a more equal and inclusive workforce as it enables anywhere access and comfortability in virtual workspaces. While collaboration technologies such as professional video solutions and communication platforms are essential for hybrid work, team leaders and employees need more innovative tools to become effective communicators for their business.
“Becoming an effective communicator post-COVID requires business leaders to be seen and heard clearly in any environment. This comes down to investing in the right technology like enterprise-grade headsets and high-definition video conferencing tools. More meetings than ever are virtual, with Zoom, Teams and Slack replacing boardrooms and water cooler chats for many Australians. Because these calls take up so much time, employees need devices that can deliver clear audio and video, which removes distractions, lowers fatigue, and enables staff to become more effective communicators for their business.”
Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro Agency
“The way you communicate directly impacts your ability to be an effective leader, build relationships, develop trust, explain your business offering, secure clients, ease problems and ensure yours and your team’s success.
“Here are the top 3 tips to being a successful communicator:
- Be an Active Listener: The first step to communicating is not to say anything at all. Being the first to listen, will give you the best insights into what people are experiencing and how you can better respond.
- Know who you are: Your actions and your words need to match. Communicating what you believe and then living by what you value will garner greater respect from those around you and build better credibility for your business.
- Share what you know: Give of your experience, insights and perspective to your team, at industry functions, or even in articles. Speaking confidently about what you know is a great way to communicate your unique business offerings.”
Ian Schubach, CEO, Red Leaf
“In my view, the key to being a more effective communicator lies in your ability to influence your audience to think, feel and behave in the direction you choose. Your goal is to appeal not only to your team’s intellect, but to their heart as well.
“Tell more stories. People care when they feel you are addressing a problem they may have and that you are credible and believable. One of the best ways to do this is through well-told stories, building rapport & emotional engagement.
“Structure your communication. When I plan a piece of communication, I often use David Kolb’s 4MAT Learning Cycle Model. Structure a piece of communication by answering four people-focused questions: Why, What, How, and Next Steps. Construct a logic map and plan to deliver using this flow.
“Be careful with PowerPoint. A lot of people use PowerPoint as a visual aid to help them communicate with their teams. If you do use one, remember that people want to listen to you and not read your slides! So:
- Limit the words
- Choose fonts and colours that are easy to read
- Use images
- Limit fancy slide transitions, but have important points appear ‘on click’.”
Lee Featherby, CEO, PowerfulPoints
“Business is about results, good results, and one of the key tools that you have in the kit is communication. You need your audience, or clients and teams, to be emotionally engaged for the best results.
“First, you need to be clear about the outcome of your communication. You need to know what you want them to do or say, or how to respond or act as a result of your message. Your communication should be relevant, interesting and clear – get creative. Steer clear of copious amounts of words, numbers, jargon, graphs and complex data – use images, animations and video accompanied with strong and simple messages to get their attention and interest. Tell them what’s in it for them.
“Next, give time to the “why”. People won’t buy the who, what, how and where until they “buy the why”. The more they do buy it, the more their commitment to the other factors. They need to know why things are done, and why it’s important. Context and reason promote emotional engagement, so they can relate to it in their own way, then they’ll buy it.
“Finally, put yourself in their seat, make it about them, engage with them, and relate to them; they’ll listen, remember and respond accordingly.”
Renee Gorrie, COO, The Big Smoke Media Group
“The best way that I have found I can be an effective communicator is by focusing on the individuals I am speaking to and recognising that how I communicate one message for one person may not work for the next person. Being aware of those nuances in communications and being cognisant of personality differences allows me to approach staff and partners in a way that gets the message across more effectively, and quickly. My goal is to always minimise the risk of miscommunications or misunderstandings, and that really can only happen if you are able to focus more on how it will land on the other person rather than just saying it how you would want to say it.”
Rebecca Rigney, PR Consultant, The Audacious Agency
“Effective communication is an essential skill for achieving success in all areas of life, whether personal or professional. Communication skills breed confidence and optimism, two character traits that enable you to accomplish your goals. Some people find that communication comes naturally; for others, it’s more difficult. But if you fall into the latter category, you don’t need a communication degree to make yourself heard—or to get what you want and need. The challenge of how to be an effective communicator gets far easier when you follow these seven steps:
- Identify Your Objectives
What do you hope to accomplish, either immediately or long term? What action or response from your audience will show that you have communicated successfully? Understanding your objectives will help shape your communication style and make you more effective.
- Listen Actively
Communication isn’t just about what you say. If you want people to listen to you, you need to listen to them. Don’t get so focused on what you’re saying that you miss their important comments, emotions, and reactions. Likewise, when others are speaking, listen and process what they’re trying to communicate instead of planning your response. When everyone is actively involved, communication is far more effective.
- Note Your Body Language
Communication involves not just the words you speak, but what your body is saying. Without realizing it, your body language can send a stronger message than your words. If you sit or stand with your shoulders hunched and your arms folded across your chest, you show that your guard is up and you’re unwilling to have productive, two-way discussions. Alternatively, when you sit or stand up straight with your arms at your sides, or relax into a more casual pose, you project openness and a willingness to communicate—before you’ve said a single word.
- Know Your Audience
The same speech, conversation, or sales pitch won’t succeed with every audience. Modify your language for each group so that you’re not being condescending or speaking in a way in which your audience can’t understand. Adjusting how and what you say to match your audience will improve your communication skills.
- Pace Yourself
Pay attention to how quickly you’re speaking and whether your audience appears to be processing what you’re saying. Slow down if necessary, and vary the volume and rhythm of your speech to hold their attention. It’s important to deliberately repeat important points a few times to make sure your listeners hear what you have to say.
- Choose the Right Time
If you’re planning to ask your boss for a raise, make sure he or she is in a receptive mood. If there’s a big problem on the production line or your company has lost a big account, it’s not the best time to bring up the subject. So, in general—whether you’re planning to deliver good or bad news or simply presenting a new idea that requires energy and focus—be aware of your audience’s mindset. Timing is a big factor in successful communication.
- Be Clear
Don’t spend too much time setting up your idea or request. Communicate your needs and desires clearly. You’ll not only avoid misunderstandings, but you’ll also earn respect through your honesty and clarity and have a greater chance of accomplishing your goal.
“Great communicators choose their words well, understand their audience, and connect with them at the right time and place. By applying these tips and practicing often, you can master the skills and learn how to be an effective communicator.”