Last Updated: March 1, 2021.
Opportunities come and go quickly in business. While some companies are quick enough to seize the moment, others lose out either due to making wrong decisions or taking too long to make the right one. Examples are a dime a dozen, from Blockbuster refusing Netflix to the co-founder of LinkedIn losing the YouTube stake race.
At the pace the world is moving, speed is more than just a bonus for businesses. If you don’t move fast enough, your competitors will, maybe even taking your valuable patrons with them.
It doesn’t just involve making decisions at the drop of a hat but also learning fast and teaching employees to do the same. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can make your business thrive.
One of the ways businesses can keep up is by using efficient and reliable communication. High-speed internet and fiber optics, among other technologies, are ubiquitous to the point of being standard in a business setting.
However, hardware and software only comprise half of the formula for success, the other half lies with a culture of collaboration among employees.
By taking note of the following tips, you can make more informed decisions while staying relevant in this fast-paced and competitive economy.
Keep Everyone in the Loop
There’s no point in keeping good and bad news to a closed circle. Considering today’s technology, people will know about something that’ll affect them long-term eventually. It pays to educate them about events within and outside the company and plans to move forward. Nothing beats a business kept well-oiled by an informed and inspired workforce.
Keeping everyone informed can’t get more critical than in the middle of a worldwide health crisis. Even with businesses slowly return to office work, remote work will remain the norm in the following years.
In this case, work has to reduce as much physical contact as possible without sacrificing the ability to collaborate among teams.
Technology plays a role in filling this gap, particularly communication tools such as eFax. Anyone with a decent computer or mobile phone can send and receive faxed documents over a secure channel. Since digitally-signed faxed documents are considered legally binding, their content immensely helps inform teams of crucial plans and decisions.
Avoid Unnecessary Meetings and Emails
You’re probably familiar with the refrain, ‘This meeting should’ve been an email.’ For half of the average 62 meetings held monthly, it probably should have.
One study found that businesses in the U.S. waste $37 billion every year on unnecessary meetings. In most of them, employees missed them or daydreamed when in attendance. They also consumed an average of 31 hours per month, four additional 8-hour workdays better invested in getting actual work done.
Experts agree that such wasteful culture has to change, but not by eliminating meetings entirely. Given the right purpose and objective, they can still be a powerful communication tool. You only need to ask yourself a few questions before calling everyone to the conference room, such as:
- Will the meeting involve more than three attendees?
- Will anyone miss important caveats if they miss the meeting?
- Will attendees be required to contribute information to the meeting?
- Will the topic involve talking about ideas and solutions?
- Will the meeting foster collaboration among the team?
Conversely, there are moments when an email should have been a meeting. The average employee receives over 300 work-related emails every week and has to check their inbox 36 times every hour for new correspondences. A business can lose around $1,800 on unnecessary emails and over $4,000 on poorly-written ones.
Fortunately, the solution also lies in asking a few questions, such as:
- Will the email generate too many back-and-forth replies?
- Will the email raise more questions than answers?
- Will the recipient feel uneasy because of the email’s tone?
Live chat is a tool that lies somewhere in between, combining the versatility of email and face-to-face interaction of a meeting. It has become a standard feature in many business software, allowing for real-time communication even while everyone’s busy. In a time where physical sessions are risky, live chat is a blessing.
Keep It Simple and Straightforward
Jargon may make your correspondences sound professional, but it won’t be much help to recipients merely asking for a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Nevertheless, some entrepreneurs are guilty of what economists and psychologists call the curse of knowledge. Simply put—the more you know what a term means, the less you know what that term means to everyone else.
Clarity should always be the top priority in any form of communication. Unless you’re composing an academic paper, it pays to keep correspondences simple.
Always keep in mind the reason you’re replying to a letter or group chat. This tip applies especially to emails, where the recipient only has a limited window to check your response.
Of course, jargon isn’t entirely useless. If a term is explainable in its most basic form, then it should be your first choice when writing. Take time to consider whether the recipient will understand the term you’re implying. Lengthy words with known acronyms should be mentioned once in writing before using the acronyms for the rest of the message.
End the message by allowing yourself to be reachable for any inquiries. Being clear the first time prevents important work from wasting too much time on clarifying things further.
Success in today’s economy no longer lies with the ‘move fast and break things’ approach. It may have helped Facebook and Google succeed, but that was then—this is now.
Products and services must be close to perfect as possible, needing little to no fixes on the business’s part. In a way, the mantra of today should be, ‘Move fast but stop a while.’
Picking up the pace in running a business doesn’t mean glossing over the important stuff; your aim should be to move fast, not fail fast. Precise and reliable communication stops your business from stepping on pitfalls by knowing where they are as you go.
Once you master the steps in improving communication, moving fast will come as second nature to your business.