Making a Difference
Susan Mach, Ph.D. Senior Training Partner
If you think that communication training is just so much fluff, there’s trouble in Paradise.
In today’s challenging business environment, investing in communication training throughout your organization is one of the smartest moves you can make.
Your company’s survival, let alone success, are at stake.
From the C suite to the most recently hired intern, everyone must have the skills to communicate clearly, concisely and convincingly to all your audiences.
And these communication skills are not soft skills.
In fact, these are the hard skills.
Here’s your challenge
Today’s audiences, both internal and external, are cynical, distracted, multitasking, always in a rush. What’s more: They have short attention spans, and they’re sleep-deprived.
Communicating your messages—in ways that will “stick”--is more challenging than ever.
If you’re not communicating, you’re not leading.
Your company must have a comprehensive, integrated, cohesive communication plan. This plan should be integral to your overall strategy, not just something that’s nice to have.
If you’re the head of your company, you must communicate your vision and your strategy for realizing that vision. If everyone in your firm fully doesn’t understand your vision and your strategy, then you have no vision, and you have no strategy.
Winning the competition for talent
These days, strong communication skills can help you attract and—most importantly—retain talented, skilled and experienced people.
If you’re not paying attention to the importance of being a best-in-class employer, the best and brightest employees in your company know they have plenty of options in the job market. And they will exercise those options.
As a leader, your job is to communicate the big picture—including an industry overview and the competitive landscape—and ensure that everyone in the organization knows his/her role in executing your strategy.
Avoiding regulatory, legal and ethical crises
All leaders, regardless of the size of their organization or what industry they’re in, must ensure all communication —texts, speeches, reports, e-mails, presentations, memos—adhere to regulatory, legal and ethical requirements.
Take for example, “Exhibit A.” According to The New York Times, Exhibit A is a single PowerPoint slide in which powerhouse consultancy firm McKinsey & Company advised Boeing to bribe Indian officials, some of whom were specifically named.
To be clear, McKinney has denied recommending “bribery or illegal acts,” but Exhibit A, i.e., the PowerPoint slide, does not include warnings that the scheme would be illegal and unwise.
Whatever the outcome here, it’s noteworthy that some individuals seem not to have been aware of the impact that a single slide could have on their company’s reputation.
All employees are your company’s ambassadors
The lesson here is plain. Everyone needs communication training, not just leaders.
In fact, the principles of strong communication—logical structure, convincing substance and professional style—should be integral to your company’s culture.
This is especially true when your goal is to foster a customer-centric culture. All employees should focus on communicating with customers with dignity and respect, no matter how much pressure they’re under, no matter how stressed they are.
Today’s customers know they have choices. They have little or no sense of loyalty if they perceive your company does not provide world-class customer service. Word gets around. Social media are full of customer reviews that can make or break a company.
Every day, your company’s reputation is at stake. A single e-mail can create a media frenzy. A single off-the-cuff remark at an industry conference can sow confusion about your company’s direction. A single text message can destroy your team’s morale.
Bottom line: When clear, concise, convincing communication is part of your company’s DNA, you’re safeguarding your company’s image, as well as its financial health.
For information about setting up an in-house training program with Susan Mach or any other McM Senior Training Partner, fill-in the email form below to contact
Karen McMullen, Principal, The McMullen Group, LLC
or telephone her at 973-493-6111