So, what has this spaghetti western cliché got to do with Communication? In my keynote; “Pay More Than Lip Service To Communication”, I use this slide to show the importance of being ahead of the game when it comes to communication.
Every quarter I write a Communications blog for Accountancy Learning (a distance learning AAT Training Provider), and this month the topic was all about Making Tax Digital (MTD).
MTD starts this month and involves new requirements for digital record keeping for some VAT registered businesses. However, all businesses and individuals will have to move to a fully digital tax system by 2020.
Although I'm not an accountant, I am a communications expert and recognise that this is a massive change for everyone. As I explained in the blog, if this change isn't communicated well, it could cause a huge amount of stress, and affect the smooth running of a business. This is where being ahead with your communication can make a real and positive difference.
We’ve all seen news stories about organisations who fail to communicate with their staff and customers. In 2017 British Airways failed to transport around 75,000 of its passengers on flights they had booked and I was one of them! BA suffered a major technology disaster but compounded the problem by failing to communicate. They lost the confidence of their customers and shareholders, which was reflected in BA’s owner, IAG, see a huge loss in the value of its shares. However the reputational damage was much higher than the compensation costs.
This might be an extreme example but every business can learn from this. The problem is that managers and business owners are often so busy dealing with change or a problem, that they forget to let their staff and customers know what’s happening. The negative perception of this lack of communication can cause even more problems. So I suggest every manager and business owner should think about how they communicate and ask themselves these three questions: -
Is Your Communication Proactive or Reactive?
Don’t leave your customers and staff wondering what’s happening. Think of the benefits and improved business relationships that can be achieved by simply letting people know what’s happening ahead of time. Being proactive and not reactive, will lead to fewer questions being asked, and will ultimately save you time and money
Are You Speaking The Right Language?
A message can get lost in translation if the communication isn’t clear, so don’t assume that everyone understands what you’re talking about. Without realizing it, people could misinterpret what you’re saying based on your style, tone or expression, and it could leave them feeling stressed or confused.
What’s The Right Method of Communication?
People respond differently to various methods of communication, so consider whether a newsletter, memo, email, phone call or meeting is the best way to convey your message. Knowing your staff and customers will help you get this right.
So whether you are an accountant or any other industry, it’s important to keep your staff and customers informed, If you head ‘em off at the pass, you and your business will definitely reap the benefits.