CEOs of Effective Business Communication

A former chairman of a major corporation recently gave us some sage
advice. He started off with a question: "Jeff and Rich, do you know
what ‘CEO’ stands for?" Before we could respond, he blurted, "Not what
you think! It stands for ‘Customers’, ‘Employees’ and ‘Owners’." From
there, he proceeded to describe how important it is to communicate
effectively with each of these stakeholders in your business.

His
advice was music to our ears. We couldn’t agree more. Business is
filled with risk, but with effective business communication you can
avoid internal, commercial and financial risks. In fact, with
communication flowing, you can actually create unforeseen
opportunities.

Consider these pointers:

"C" is for Customers

How
well do you know the needs of your customers? How well does your
customer know your goals, capabilities and plans? We hope your answer
to both questions is "Really well!" In our experience, communication
with customers is critical for success. If you keep your customers
tuned in to your business, you’re more apt to understand your
customers’ wants and needs and to be able to satisfy them, and then
they’re more apt to do business with you instead of the competition.

"E" is for Employees

Communicating
with employees is essential for success. All too commonly, people
assume that because their business is "small," employees know what’s in
the mind of management. Au contraire! A team that isn’t working
together toward the same goal can lead to misunderstanding,
inefficiency and even lost opportunity. Because cash-poor small
businesses are more sensitive to mistakes, put extra emphasis on
keeping employees completely informed and coordinated. This will
reinforce that they are part of the team, and that will lead to better
attitude and effort all around.

"O" is for Owners

Communicate
regularly with shareholders and stakeholders in your company, whether
they be investors or lenders, or anyone else who may own stock in your
startup business. It sounds obvious, but when you’re preoccupied with
the day-to-day details of your business, it’s easy to forget. Go the
extra mile to provide updates to the money people to better manage
expectations and create confidence.

Preferably, as the CEO,
you should personally write the communiqués. The money people want to
hear it from the top, so give it to them the way they want it. If you
delegate this task, you run the risk of valuable subtleties and nuances
getting lost. By doing it yourself, you can express the ideals of the
business, your values and personality, and key objectives.

With the recipients now identified, here are some additional tips to consider:

Reserve the Razzmatazz

When
communicating directly with your C-E-Os, you will engender a higher
level of confidence more rapidly if you are candid and direct. In this
day and age, people generally have a short attention span. So be clear
and get to the point in your communications with key business
stakeholders. Even if the news is bad, it’s going to come out sooner or
later, so it’s best if they hear it from you. When providing an update
on the company’s status, save the flowery prose for your advertisements
and get right to the “bottom line.”

Calendar Your Communiqués

One
of the easiest ways to ensure effective communication is to create a
schedule. This serves two functions. First, it reminds you when you
should be getting out your next update. Second, the regular schedule
helps manage readers’ expectations. They can rest assured that the
upcoming monthly update will put their curiosities to rest.

"How
often is often enough?" Basically, our answer to this question is
always the same. It’s very difficult to over-communicate. If you’re
uncertain, just start communicating. Then ask the recipients if they’d
like more or less frequent interactions. They’ll love you for being so
interested.

With this in mind, pick up the phone. Set up a
meeting. Write a letter and snail mail it. Maybe blast out an email
with an update. But whatever you do – communicate! Because when it comes to business communication, you better know your CEOs.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
StartupNation Writer
StartupNation Writer

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