Effective communication during uncertain times

  • By Mercia Group
  • 22 April 2020 11:16

Communication is key to achieving strong client and colleague relationships (as well as often determining how long a client relationship may last!). Following the last few weeks of constant information and a forced fast-tracked approach to remote working, communication has arguably become even more significant. We share some simple tactics to keep the lines of communication open with your clients and colleagues, whilst navigating these uncertain times.

Overcoming the obvious barrier

For many the removal of face-to-face contact will be viewed as a huge barrier to communication. With face-to-face meetings a staple part of work diaries, we will be looking for other options to collaborate effectively. Studies show that 65% of all communication is non-verbal, so utilise video conferencing software where you can. There are a variety of tools available such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams. We have prepared a useful guide on how to get the most out of Microsoft Teams, as well suggesting other platforms you may want to explore.

Actively listening

The best communicators are often the best listeners too. Give conversations with your colleagues and clients your full attention, just as you would if they were sitting in front of you. Whilst it may be tempting to try and multitask your work and home priorities, attempting to listen on a conference call, reply to emails and load the dishwasher will only be counterproductive. Follow the basics of active listening when having conversations – go to a place with limited distractions, turn off your email notifications and allow yourself the time to solely focus on the conversation.

Choose the right channel – think digital?

When communicating it is important that the channel you use is suitable for what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want to share an interesting podcast with your contacts, could you do this on social media, rather than personalised emails? With the acceleration of digital transformation in the current COVID-19 climate, you may find this the perfect opportunity to explore channels you haven’t felt the need to use before. Use this as an opportunity to not only make personal direct contact with your clients, but also explore the value channels such as social media, your website and email marketing can have in delivering engaging content and staying connected.

Content is key

The thought of knowledge or information being incomplete often takes people out of their comfort zone, especially if having to communicate this uncertainty with clients. Whilst we can’t control the daily changing news and guidance, we do have control over sharing this information, even if not fully scoped out yet! Add value to your clients by sharing interesting news and guidance with them. People digest information in varying ways so try to share a variety of media such as news articles, blogs, videos and podcasts. More than just adding value to your clients, this also helps to build reputation and credibility too. Remember – content doesn’t have to be authored by you to be worthwhile of sharing – simply sharing curated content adds value too.

You may be interested in the virtual classrooms on the topic of "Communicating Effectively with Clients and Colleagues".  we are running throughout May. You can also find out about our full range of management and business advisory virtual classrooms, on our website here.

 

 

 

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