JOHN COCKAYNE: Why effective communication is important in business
Being busy is no excuse for not returning calls and opening e-mails
Legend has it that Napoleon believed that “an army marches on its stomach”.
If this has any veracity, then effective communication is an equally vital element in the nutritional mix that keeps a company, organisation, golf club or business successful and moving forward. This maxim applies to internal and external communications and will help single out a company from its competitors.
The lack of effective communications by the government about many aspects of the pandemic has driven many of us to distraction.
Given communication’s importance, how often have you heard someone say, “oh I’m so busy”, or “it’s been so hectic”, as an excuse for not getting back to you or for not answering a question, memo or e-mail?
The sad fact is they are not busy. If the truth be known they are either not interested in the person or subject to hand, incompetent, impolite, out of their depth or, alternatively, do not know their job.
Who really is busy? For one, the Pope is. The rest of us are probably just inefficient. The unpleasant alternative is that we are telling someone, in an unsubtle manner, that we are not interested in them or what they are doing does not matter.
Be under no illusion. Ultimately you will be defined and valued by how well you communicate, and there is the added danger that in failing to return calls and open e-mails you will miss key opportunities.
In a recent feature, I mentioned launching the Destination Golf Travel guide in the region. What I did not mention was that just as with the tourism bodies, which did not respond to the promotional opportunity offered by the platform, dozens of clubs also never replied to the proposal.
It is quite possible that this lack of interest was due to there being a nominal cost to participate in the guide. However, the same rationale cannot be applied to the lack of response received to GolfVistaSA’s offer to SA’s clubs to participate free of charge on this marketing platform.
There seems to be a similar issue with the Collier Survey, which offers a comprehensive environmental management and governance solution, which is also free to the participating clubs.
E-mail is often treated by its users with the same cavalier disregard for its etiquette that SA drivers display for the rules of the road when they career around parking areas.
“Stop” means stop, even in a car park and we drive on the left hand side of the road even in car parks. There are similar rules for e-mail.
Sure, we all know there is an e-mail blizzard out there. However, that is not the fault of Outlook or Gmail or the result of too much communication. There are three main problem areas, which often result in e-mail and communications in general being badly structured, poorly managed or misdirected.
Let’s deal with the third problem first: misdirection. Make sure you are sending the e-mail to the right people. If you are not sure who needs to be on the particular communication cycle, then confirm who should be in the loop. Please do not just fire off e-mails as if you have a pump action laptop.
Be careful who you cc. Perhaps the biggest single cause of the tidal wave of e-mail is people who think that they should cc everyone “just in case”.
If you think this is a good idea and it supports efficient communications, then please pack up that same “case” and move on somewhere else.
Part 2 will appear in Wednesday’s Business Day.
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