The Lost Art of Communication

Posted on May 30, 2014 in Business Essentials

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How will this year be different from all other years?

Between texting, tweeting and e-mails — not to mention Facebook and LinkedIn — I sometimes wonder whether communication is becoming a lost art form. In a way, business has become far more impersonal. No need for face-to-face interactions, or even complete sentences. And, when conversing with Millennials (as I now begin to sound like an old fuddy-duddy), I have to ask: Has proper grammar gone the way of the dodo?

As I mention in my program, “How to Train Your Clients to Pay You,” one of the primary reasons customers refuse to pay is because there’s been a breakdown of communication between you. That’s a problem that can only continue if we immerse ourselves in “textspeak” and lack the confidence and know-how to communicate, negotiate and be sociable. If we don’t have it, we certainly can’t share it and train the next generation of employees.

As someone who loves to write, I’m somewhat guilty of this myself. While a certain degree of the legal profession involves putting things in writing, I catch myself getting mired in e-mail exchanges when a simple phone call would have gotten to the heart of the matter — and in far less time.

As you plan for the year to come, here are some ways to reintroduce the human side of business and improve communications:

  • Send a handwritten note.
  • Pick up the phone.
  • Reach out your clients on a regular basis.
  • Create videos for your website.
  • Treat a special vendor to lunch.
  • Join a Toastmasters club (and send your employees).
  • Read Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
  • Meet colleagues for coffee.
  • Become an active listener.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Develop your voice.
  • Read to children.
  • Attend a Dale Carnegie seminar (and send your employees).
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Get involved in a volunteer organization.

The better you and your staff can communicate, the fewer misunderstandings you’ll have with those relationships that are so vital to your business.

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