My job as a Business Mentor/ Business Coach is all around communication and I consider myself a pretty good communicator.
It took us six million years to evolve from apes in Africa to the homo sapiens who can communicate in so many ways, speech, body language, music, writing, art etc
In addition, we apes have also learned more recently to communicate by what would have got you burned at the stake in days gone by, electronically – phone, text, email, you name it we have it now.
I feel one of the biggest issues we have in the modern world is poor communication.
I believe one of the many reasons is the fact that we are now learning to communicate in almost anonymous style i.e electronically and we are in danger of losing the skills of verbal face to face/telephone communication.
One only has to look at a group of youngsters these days to see them sitting in a group, their faces buried in their phones, communicating not with the people sitting in front of them, communicating in that anonymous style with other people – some of whom they may never have actually met!
I remember twenty years ago my children using their early mobile phones (Rabbit phones – who remembers them?!) texting me to borrow money until payday. My instinct was that this was the wrong way to ask for that kind of favour and therefore much to their disgust I told them I would not answer any ‘can I borrow £25 until payday’ messages but they had to ask me in person. Did that make me a hard dad, or did it teach them to be able to confront issues and be braver in communicating?
Since that time a whole generation has grown up communicating behind the safety barrier of mobile phone, laptop or PC
Sometimes when in businesses I see two people sitting within feet of each other in an office communicating by email. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that situation when information has to be relayed or an audit trail is required but too often the electronic communication is the easy answer or ‘cop out ‘.
Again, back in the nineties as a bank manager, I would not allow my staff to text me if they were going to be sick that day, they had to phone and speak to me or my deputy personally. Why was this? Was it so that I could hear some of them put on their pathetic upset tummy, bad cold or flu voice or was it to make them take personal responsibility? Whatever the reason it did reduce the amount of odd day sickness we saw.
At UKBM we have spent the last twelve years reviewing businesses to see what works well and what doesn’t and in every business, we have reviewed that communication is an issue and that in turn causes problems within the business and indeed disputes and bad feelings.
Typically, the breakthrough in a business can come from just one or two candid conversations to flesh out the issues and set things on the right track.
My suggestion where there is friction or maybe misunderstanding is to think about what you want to ask the other person, write it down. Use open questions, who, what, how etc to get as much information as possible. Find out how the other person feels and their views – it will really help you understand the situation better. Remember, keep it calm, no raised voices and do more listening (real listening not pretend!) than talking.
What makes me an expert in this area? Well I have been a Business Mentor for twelve years but in addition, I have been married three times and as Niels Bohr, the Nobel Prize Winner said “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes to be made in a very narrow field”
If you think communication in your business could be improved, then get in touch for a complimentary mentoring session where we will listen more than talk – promise!
We are happy to take calls from businesses of any size and in any industry to discuss their challenges and give them our advice, guidance and recommendations. There is absolutely no obligation to buy anything from us, this is purely an offer of a helping hand to business owners facing challenges in unprecedented times.
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