5 Steps to More Effective Communication
I can vividly recall a conversation I had with a gentleman that knocked on my door about 10 years ago. After I opened the door, we stood there for about 10 minutes, each trying to communicate — him, trying to tell me something and me, trying to figure out why he had just knocked on my door. Because of a language barrier, I still, to this day, don’t know why he was there. We need to be mindful of those who don’t speak financial jargon. If finance is the language of business, it’s our job to more effectively translate it to be easily understood by the rest of the management team. For this reason, communication is of the utmost importance among executive team members. Even more so, effective communication is paramount to leading a successful company. The article “Access to Data Is Great, but It’s How You Communicate It That Matters” says there is little excuse for presenting information in a way that isn’t Simple, Helpful, Direct, Relevant and New.
“Keep it simple, stupid.” In business, the simplest way is often the best. With time being a scarce resource for many businesses, the time spent deciphering a overly-complex situation is money lost (Read: time=money). 9/10 times, the best solution is often the simplest.
Data is only as helpful as it is understood. Think hard about how the recipient will receive and understand the message. With the end goal of being helpful, be intentional about how the message is worded and how data is communicated. How would this be the most helpful to them?
“Clarity affords focus.” – Thomas Leonard. Be clear on expectations, goals, and current status. The more directly you can communicate where you are, where you’re going, and where you want to go, the less resistance you’ll face as you move towards your goals.
Information communicated to the board and executive team should be different than that to the sales team. Try to include a short explanation on relevance to help them hone in on the importance for them.
The worst outcome is for communication to become routine, white noise. Break up the mundane with varying levels of enthusiasm, different channels of communication (email, in person, phone, etc.) or personal touches. Using new technologies to communicate is also extremely effective.
Effective communication will boost employee engagement and help unify company efforts and vision.
Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO. At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO. We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence. We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results. For more information, click here.