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Communication Hurdles To Overcome After A Corporate Disaster

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Imagine your company has experienced its biggest corporate crisis in years. An immediate blow to reputation, professionalism and financing, the long-term effects of disaster can be devastating, and may even spell the end for business.

In crisis situations, communications that recognise and address problems can minimise damage and resolve corporate nightmares, so should be a recovery priority. But remaining calm and communicative is easier said than done: there are many hurdles and actions which businesses must clear to redress the slip of disaster, rather than falling flat on their faces.

Hurdle 1: Remaining accessible and transparentClear communication should be an immediate damage limitations and recuperations response. So stating precisely what went wrong, accepting blame if relevant, heeding comments, and stating remedial procedures (enquiring, hiring and firing) is necessary for companies to remain accessible and approachable. It’s this honesty that reassures consumers, partners and staff, reaffirming their trust and loyalty, and re-establishing reputations. No matter the cause of the problem, or who/what’s to blame, communications must be transparent and above all clear. You don’t want to make matters worse by being misunderstood and causing further offence.

Hurdle 2: Acknowledging the problem and stating the remedy. Investigating exactly what went wrong/completing enquiries takes time, but communicative accessibility (as above) eases backlash. Clearly acknowledging the problem, admitting mistakes, accepting blame and apologising if necessary, in addition to stating reparations actions, proves professionalism. It is especially crucial in the case of legal or criminal crises. Treat all parties involved with respect and empathy, and when relevant, offer compensation to those eligible.

Hurdle 3: Knowing when to communicate, and what to say. The way a disaster’s handled depends on the nature of the problem. In most cases it’s wise to release a corporate statement/response addressing issues so the company account is on record. But knowing when not to communicate, containing information and judging when to respond to errors is just as important as honesty and accessibility. Before communicating at all, find out how much is known and what information should actually be broadcast. If nothing other than the basics are needed to quash rumour, simply repeat your statement of apology, explanation and resolve across multiple channels – it’s crucial it reaches your various audiences, and reaches them consistently.

Hurdle 4: Keeping PR (the media and the news) on-side. Especially linked to accessibility and transparency, media relations have the power to improve or worsen high profile corporate disasters. If well handled, positive media cooperation can help communicate official statements, circumvent hostility, and depending on the nature of the crisis may reaffirm reputations and professionalism in the public eye. To proactively communicate with the media, respond quickly, always give a  statement to prevent speculation (refusal to speak can be additionally damaging), don’t release more information than you need, and don’t be afraid to give simple ‘yes/no’ answers. If possible, find third party allies to support your statements and your media messages.

Lastly, dealing with the communications breakdown of a corporate crisis – from handling publicity to responding to multi-channel backlash (social media may be your biggest hurdle yet) – will not be an easy task. But through maintaining honest connectivity from start to end (and notifying closure and thanks to all involved after resolution), recovery and prevention of future error can be achieved and communicated with minimal damage.

Alastair is a writer and business blogger. He wrote this article for Communicaid a culture and business communication skills consultancy, which offers business english courses as part of its services.

 

 

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Carry your Business Tools with You

There is no doubt that healthy communication is one of the major tenants off good business. Supplying your employees with a company mobile phone is the ideal way to give them the means to contact whoever they need to quickly and appropriately. Company mobile phones supplied to employees makes employees realise it is inappropriate to use their own phones during business hours for personal reasons unless there is an emergency. Fitting company mobile phones into the workplace may be more difficult than first envisioned however. For one, mobile phones often disturb meetings to the extent that some employees are told to leave their mobiles at their desks during this time. Also, using a company phone while driving is not advised practice as this is considered unsafe.

Successfully Integrating Mobile Phones in the Workplace

HR policy on mobile phone use of employees is a useful place to start looking for learning how company mobile phone use can be a mostly positive and not detrimental, practice. Poor mobile phone practices can lead to disrupting behaviour in the workplace and even possibly raise legal issues. For this reason, try to bring in the help of your managers and legal advisory connections as well as your HR staff when formulating a policy. Getting help from IT staff can also help if the mobiles you supply need to fit in with email servers, have use of particular built-in apps or have particular calling functions.

Making Up a General Mobile Phone Use Policy

Having employees annoy others in meetings with mobile phones can be helped by using the vibrate signal when receiving a call or message instead of a loud ringtone. Better than that, ask staff to leave the room if they receive an important call or need to make an important text. Or, you might consider telling staff to just leave their mobiles at their desks during business meetings. Remember that leaving voicemails can be an effective way to communicate with a mobile. It lets someone state a succinct message about the situation and lets others have time to hear that message and think on it before replying.

When Employees Need to Use their Mobiles

Encourage your workers to speak in low tones when they are using a mobile, or to move to a designated area where they can talk freely like a lobby, call area or cafeteria. Communication on mobile phones, especially if clients are involved, should always be professional. It may be tempting to communicate less formally over a mobile instead of by letter, email or landline but getting into this habit is not a good idea. Remember that the mobile phones should be used with courtesy and respect with appropriate behavioural boundaries at all times.

Helping Employees Carry around their Mobiles

There are more efficient ways to carry around a mobile phone than just in the pocket. Your company can produce colourful lanyards that have a phone holder clip on the end of them which employees wear around their neck. This only works for phones that have a bar, however. It includes a string loop which forms a phone attachment. Or, you may like to use a clipper which works for Blackberries and iPhones but not flip phones. These lanyards are very suitable for employees on the move or on the job and advertise the employee’s status at the same time. Mobile phones can also be carried in bum bags worn around the waist. Consider supplying your mobile phones with suitable protective cases so that they last longer.

Other Mobile Phone Issues at Work

State certain times when employees are allowed to use their personal mobile phones and ban any use outside of these time zones, apart from for emergency calls. If employees are using personal devices for business reasons they should be reimbursed this money. Getting employees to highlight all work related calls on a bill could be an option, but of course it may be easier simply to supply work phones to everyone and state that all work-related activity must be done on these phones alone. If work phones are supplied, these should be turned off by a secure service if they are lost or stolen. Phones that come with GPS mean that employees can be tracked, perhaps out of hours. Ask employees to turn off work phones during out of hours if they do not want this to happen.

To find out about company lanyards go online for a quick and easy design and manufacturing process that will ship lanyards to you that have been quality checked.

 

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Olympic London has lost the plot – well it was always going to happen…

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I’m trying not to become a GB (Games Bore) but this I could not resist. London Olympians are being treated to ‘Olympic Lanes’ – dedicated traffic lanes only officials and athletes can use when driving to and from events.

Like it isn’t hard enough to get round the Capital anyway! However the chaps and chapesses that have come up with this amazing logistical solution seem to have cut a few corners:

As usual the Daily Mail picked this little tidbit up pretty quick.

Where the hell is the average driver going to go (the lane for normal traffic is the bit in the middle)? Down the left? Can’t its a Bus Lane (£130 fine). Down the right? Can’t – will crash into oncoming traffic. Down the centre lane? Can’t its the Olympic Lane – £130 fine.

But its okay – what you do is just keep driving and as you reach the point at which the two dashed lines converge you are transported via a portal to your destination. Apparently.

Its quite fun – up until a week ago all preparations for the Games have gone according to plan and the media has been quite disappointed – no disasters, no cock-ups. But now with a week to go the security firm has admitted its security staff don’t exist and chaos is building on the roads.

Bring it on!

 

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You Can Learn to Love Public Speaking

Public speaking is one of the most feared aspects of modern life. Even people who seem to be totally self-assured and confident can be reduced to a jiggling mass of nerves when confronted with the idea of giving a speech or a presentation. Are you one of the people who would rather do anything than to speak in front of others? If so, you may be relieved to know that there are ways to overcome your fear and learn to be blissfully comfortable when doing public speaking. It’s important to learn this, especially for one that want to become a midwife, or anything else. Here’s how:

  • Be mentally prepared. Of course you need to know your speech or presentation inside and out. You need to be so comfortable with the material that you could do a passable job of presenting it without notes. Equally important, however, is being aware of how you are going to feel and present yourself while speaking. Before you give your speech, close your eyes and breathe deeply to stimulate relaxation. Imagine watching yourself from the audience and seeing a presenter who is relaxed, knowledgeable, and friendly. By planting the idea that you will be great in your mind, you can make it a reality.
  • Be in control. You are in charge of your thought processes. The brain can only handle so many tasks at once. Just as too much fear can prevent you from thinking clearly, concentrating can block feelings of fear. If you are in front of a group and feel panic trying to set in, take a moment to breathe deeply and remind yourself that you know the material.
  • Make a connection. A truly great speech or presentation will feel more like sharing information with people instead of talking at people. While it is okay to have notes from which to jog your memory, be knowledgeable enough that you rarely need the notes so you can simply make a real, personable connection with your listeners. Talk as if you are talking to a friend and make sure any visual aids are secondary to you.
  • Be yourself. The fact that you are delivering important information doesn’t mean that you have to become a robot. Try to maintain a relaxed demeanor and speak in a conversational tone. This will make the presentation more comfortable for everyone involved. After all, everyone hates a dull, monotone speaker.
  • Find a role model. If you are at a complete loss as to how to give a speech, find a speaker you admire and carefully watch and listen to how he or she does things. This will give you a great starting point from which you can develop your own particular style. Soon, you will be the model for others.
  • Work the audience. Let everyone know at the beginning that you expect them to raise their hands before making comments and when you will be accepting questions. If someone interrupts you, kindly but firmly remind them of your guidelines. It is also a good idea to use humor and personal anecdotes. Make eye contact with different people around the room and smile often. This will help to keep your audience involved and interested. By working them correctly, you will have the audience hanging on your every word.

Bobby G. likes to write about how to help yourself be happy.

 

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Employee Performance Tips and Strategies for the Workplace

High level employee performance is highly valued nowadays. Like prize bull fighters, these work persons are usually the talk of the office and admired by their fellow colleagues.

Business owners hoping to motivate their staff into being more productive will need to focus on their employee engagement strategies. Work interest is often a pie in the sky that can’t be reached. If interest cannot be found, work variety can oftentimes save the day. Attention anchored down by the array of tasks at hand, employee performance can peak when daily allocations are not predictably monotonous.

Tips for upping employee performance levels

  • Communicate your goals and expectations to your staff: It wouldn’t be fair to expect a certain level of productivity from your employees if you haven’t spoken up about your expectations. Make sure your office is in the know about how much work they need to be producing within the day. The marked difference of response between employees who have clearly outlined and meaningful targets and those that don’t is startling. The results promote keeping staff tied to and motivated by the larger corporate ambitions of a company.
  • Give immediate feedback: While scheduled monthly reviews are a must, business owners and managers should also be giving feedback as it arises. If you spot an issue that needs to be addressed, don’t hesitate to do so. A pertinent problem may slip under the rug if left unspoken for too long. A way to improve employee performance management and the quality of work being produced by work persons is to be diligent about giving constructive criticism.
  • Support employees in their work and growth: Companies that provide management teams that train and assist their colleagues is essential to personal employee success. Training will also provide the extra incentive of acquiring new skills. The growth of workers within the corporate environment is essential to the overall growth of a business.
  • Employee performance review: If all else fails, a monthly employee performance evaluation should be a wakeup call for staff not giving their best on a consistent basis. A management’s means of keeping track of their charges productivity fluctuations and progress, a business can also use these meetings to recognise and reward hard work.

Managing employee performance can ultimately determine your return on investment. Are you as a business owner getting your money’s worth out of your staff? By implementing the tips above, the rise in work output will be the proof of your corporate pudding by showcasing the effectiveness of implementing employee performance strategies.

Bella Gray is an HR manager within her offices executive suites Oakland. A provider of management strategies and employee relations, Gray has noted the efficiency of the executive suites and credited the space with providing job satisfaction.

 

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Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Writer

When you need a quality writer that will do exactly what you’re asking for, you may think it’s a simple task. But in reality, there are millions of writers around the world, and choosing the right one for your project could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The job can certainly be made easier if you’re using a freelance site to find writers, as these types of sites offer much in the way of tools you can use to communicate with prospective writers. But there are still several important questions to ask your would-be freelancer that can help make which writer to choose a much less stressful experience.

Ask Yourself First

The most important question to ask is what you need your writer to do for you. Does the project require design in addition to writing, or technical skills that not all writers possess? If so, these are important items to list in your project description. If not listed, much confusion on both sides could result if expectations aren’t clearly outlined prior to project start.

Communication

Working virtually means that more communication may be needed than if you were working with your writer in person. So ask your writer how they plan to communicate with you, and how often. If the writer’s plan is to only communicate once or twice per week and you don’t feel this is enough, ask them if they would be able to communicate with you more often. If they refuse to do so, this writer may not be the right one for your project.

In addition to the frequency of communication, enquire about how many modes of communication are available to the writer. For example, in addition to email, a writer may have access to voice or web cam chat. Knowing all of the types of communication they have available can allow for more productive conversation in the event you find one type isn’t getting your message across in the manner you desire.

Who Is The Real Writer?

While this question may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to be aware that there are teams of freelance writers who may work on one project together, and then split the payment between them. This could mean that your project contains different writing styles, something that may not be desirable to you. If you prefer the style of one writer, then knowing beforehand who will be doing the work can help you avoid mistakenly hiring a team of writers.

Payment

Find out how your prospective writer expects to be paid. Freelance writers often have their own payment terms. If you find a writer whose style you like, but whose payment terms could be better, ask them if they would be willing to alter their terms slightly for your project. And don’t be surprised if you get asked by your prospective writer to slightly alter your terms. Being able to come to an agreement in a logical and civil way is crucial if you plan to hire a writer long-term.

Track Record

If your writer is an experienced one, they will have a portfolio of their previous writing projects. Looking at these will not only allow you to assess the industries they have written for in the past, but you may also be able to get information about what their other clients thought of their work. Some freelance sites offer statistics about each writer, including comments from their other clients and ratings for their work. All of this information can give you a good overall picture of what your writer may be able to accomplish for you.

Citations:

Guest author Ruth Suelemente is a seasoned freelancer, and has hired several for her company.  They generally focus on technology topics such as who the best internet providers are available in Houston.

 

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Top Tips for Ensuring Your Customers Come Back Again and Again

Finding new customers can be an expensive and time consuming process.  You need to figure out where to advertise to reach them, build up brand awareness, and then persuade them to trust you enough that they’ll hand over their money to you.  You could invest in thousands of ad impressions, get a lot of visitors and a fair few calls and emails, but end up seeing only a handful of sales for all your work.  Depressing, isn’t it?

That’s why it’s so important to look after your existing customers.  You’ve already built up brand awareness and trust with them, so they’re much more likely to buy your product, or hire your services again.  What can you do to keep your existing customers happy?

Reward Loyalty

Rewarding loyalty doesn’t have to mean starting your own loyalty card or points scheme, although you could do something like that if you run an online store that attracts a lot of smaller, repeat purchases.  There are other things you can do.  Offer a special discount to people who have purchased from you recently, or give your regular customers some little “added extras” with your next order.  If you have a customer that has been buying from you regularly for a long time, send them a token gift to commemorate their 50th purchase. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you show your customers that you appreciate them.

Prioritize Customer Service

Good customer service should be your top priority from the outset; not only because quality customer service is an important part of crisis prevention, but because the quality of your customer service will be noticed during good times too. People don’t always call customer service with a complaint – sometimes they call with a question, or even to leave a compliment.  You don’t want to sour the tone of a happy customer by having their first interaction with your customer service department be 25 minutes of hold music.

Communicate When Things Go Wrong

No matter how carefully crafted your crisis prevention plan is, it’s inevitable that one day, something will go horribly wrong, and the effectiveness of your business crisis management skills will be tested.  When that day comes, you want to make sure that you win your customers over.  Most people will be understanding when they find out that there’s a problem – as long as you communicate effectively and work with your customer to fix the problem in the best way for both of you.   Be open, honest, and flexible, and you could earn yourself a valuable ally thanks to your communication skills.

Be Human

Dealing with faceless corporations is not pleasant.  The simple act of being human, and treating your customers as humans (rather than entries in a CRM database) will inspire loyalty in a lot of people.  It’s easy to get caught up in paperwork, invoices, spreadsheets, and crisis prevention plans when you’re running a business.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that your customers are real people, and that sometimes a personal touch is appreciated.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Insignia who can advise you on crisis prevention and business crisis management. Photo: Victor1558

 

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Public Speaking Tips For An Influential And Motivating Speech

Public speaking is an important aspect of your business and even if you hate standing in front of people and speaking, you should become proficient in public speaking. You are your most important brand and are the face of your business. Successful public speaking will increase your visibility, will generate leads for you and will express your knowledge in your business offering and sphere.

Successful public speaking tips

Public speaking should influence, motivate and activate an audience. Your public speaking speech should be memorable and should leave the audience enticed and energized. There are certain public speaking tips that will motivate and if followed, you will be able to overcome your fear of public speaking and will assist you in giving an unforgettable public speaking speech.

Public speaking tips and training

Experience breeds confidence and your public speaking speech should represent you. Expressing your experiences on a personal level with your audience with only make you connect further with them and they will perceive you as more credible.

  • The importance of the message

In great public speaking tips regarding fear, you should keep your attention on the message of the speech and not the process of actually talking. This will help lower anxiety and keep you focused.

  • Don’t apologize

If you have made an error or mistake don’t publically apologized, the audience may not have even noticed it and you are just drawing attention to the error.

  • The power of the people

Your audience has invested time in hearing your public speaking speech and want to be inspired and motivated by you. Remembering this will help with anxiety and fear you may have.

  • Visualization is key

An important point in public speaking training and practicing, when getting ready to deliver your speech, it is recommended to visualize yourself on the actual day; totally in the same surroundings, the same clothes and with your public speaking speech in hand.

  • Relax

Although you may think that this is easier said than done when giving your public speech, try and relax. Start off your speech by acquainting yourself with the audience and getting settled in front of all of the people waiting for your inspiring speech.

  • Acclimatize yourself to the surroundings

It’s recommended to know the room or environment in which you will be performing your speech. Evaluate where you need to look to cover the entire audience and become similar with any visual additions you may be using.

Know the people you are speaking to. This is vital in public speaking training. You will know what jokes they may enjoy and what the tone of your speech should be. You could also greet some as they arrive to acquaint yourself better with them.

  • Practice makes perfect

Practicing your public speaking speech will only benefit you while up on the stage. Be knowledgeable about what you are talking about as it is easier to discuss something you know a lot about than something you don’t.

Jemma Scott is an avid writer of business developments and tips. Her interest stems from her time in office space in London as well as serviced offices Singapore.

 

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Communication Skills for Business Across Cultures

If your company deals with international clients communication skills are invaluable to avoid translation or cultural differences. A gesture or phrase that is fairly common or positive for us could be seen as rude or impolite to other cultures; this is why it’s important to improve on communication skills.

Disagreement Requires Tact

For example, in western culture a respectful disagreement with a manager or boss is for the most part encouraged or welcome if you can back it up with a valid point however in other cultures an outright disagreement (respectful or otherwise) is considered inappropriate and rude. Which is why it’s doubly important to have good communication skills when expressing disagreement since it will take subtle tact and suggestion in order to effectively communicate; some western cultures will not even pick up on a disagreement expressed if they don’t understand it’s considered impolite to disagree outright in other cultures.

When Business Links Aren’t Enough

When it comes to western culture business relationships are merely business; it’s important to them to keep them professional. However, in other cultures it is expected that business and personal relationships are intertwined. Communication skills and techniques go far beyond the bounds of simple business; it’s often considered impolite to immediately begin work without inquiring about health or family for many cultures. We may think we’re being professional, but for many cultures business etiquette is not enough.

Addressing Authority

Key communication skills level the playing field when it comes to the all important addressing of authority. In western culture we may be comfortable calling our boss by their first name if we have a good repertoire with them, but this is not true for all cultures. When in doubt always properly address a client or potential partner formally. Keep in mind that while most western cultures have someone’s first name first and surname second, other cultures prefer to do this in reverse. Also nicknames may be common in the immediate workplace but it’s expected that formal addressing continues much longer than in other cultures than in western cultures.

Nonverbal Communication

Finally, skills for effective communication are not limited to verbal speech alone; there are many nonverbal gestures that need to be mastered before we attempt them. For example, our “thumbs up” is a positive sign of agreement or confidence, but it would be considered incredibly offensive to certain cultures. While we all know it’s important to maintain eye contact, depending on the situation this could be incredibly offensive. Standing close to someone, sitting down first at a meeting, reading a business card in front of the person presenting it and even using your left hand to give something is all gestures that are could be construed as negative; so keep this in mind.

All is not lost however; researchers have found that a genuine smile is universally understood to be positive; one does not need communication skills to show a good old fashioned free smile.

Eugene Calvini is a writer and an office expert; he has given pointers from serviced offices Hong Kong to serviced offices Canary Wharf and is happy to share his insight online.

 

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