Communications and collaboration are essential components for any organization. There is an entire industry that has been built around developing effective communications skills and teambuilding, and there are dozens of communications experts out there. Good communications, however, is a combination of knowing what to say and how to say it, and having the right channels to deliver the message.
Communication Experts Worth Listening To
There are innumerable communications experts out there, each with his or her own perspective, and probably a book or a blog to share what they know. In this blog post, we wanted to provide a short list of communications experts who we follow to help us improve our business communications skills and strategies:
- Beth Comstock – As vice chair of General Electric, Beth Comstock has a high-profile role, promoting new growth strategies and serving as a role model for women in business. Comstock is a great communicator with a lot to say about leadership in business. She also gives a great interview.
- Ray Dalio – Have you ever thought about structuring your company as an idea meritocracy? Ray Dalio, founder of institutional portfolio manager Bridgewater Associates, suggests adopting radical transparency and algorithmic decision-making as a management strategy; it’s an interesting way to use open communication and technology to promote better ideas and more accurate business decisions.
- Dorie Clark – If you are looking for new communications and leadership strategies, Dorie Clark has been called “an expert of self-reinvention” by the New York Times. She is the author of a number of books including Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Stand Out, with a long list of credentials including presidential spokeswoman and adjunct professor of business administration at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
- Gini Dietrich – Author of Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age, Gini Dietrich is a PR and marketing professional and CEO and co-founder of Arment Dietrich, a digital marketing firm. She also is founder of Spin Sucks Pro, which provides webinars and content on effective corporate communications, public relations, and social media.
- Malcolm Gladwell – He’s prolific and is one of the best known original thinkers and communicators of the digital age. Malcolm Gladwell has five best-selling books and says he is “interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I'm interested in collecting interesting research. What I'm looking for is cases where they overlap.” He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and has his own podcast, Revisionist History. Gladwell always has something interesting to say about society and human interaction.
These are just five of the communications experts we pay attention to. They offer insight about communications and are effective communicators themselves. There are dozens of other great communicators out there and you probably have your own favorites.
Consider the Medium as Well as the Message
Of course, understanding how to deliver the message is only the first step. Promoting real teamwork and collaboration also requires breaking down internal barriers to effective communications.
Today’s business culture relies on technology for internal communications.
Email and electronic messaging in particular have become extremely popular. Email can be an ideal tool for sharing data with team members, either remotely or in the same office. However, email has its limitations as a communications channel:
- It takes much longer to resolve an issue; an email exchange can take days or weeks to come to a decision but a telephone call can lead to the same conclusion almost immediately.
- Email is emotionless. Too often, email messages are given interpretations that reflects the emotional state of the recipient, which can lead to misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
- It’s hackable. Email can be compromised and spoofed, or confidential information accessed by someone outside the company.
There are times when a telephone call or a teleconference is your most effective means of communications. That’s why today’s business communications require a combination of email, text, and other channels, including the telephone.
Spoke was developed to augment business communications by turning employees’ smartphones into an extension of the office phone system. With Spoke, calls to anyone’s extension follow them wherever they are. Spoke users get all the features they expect from their office phone, such as auto-attendant, voice mail, smart directories, group calling, hunt groups, and more. Because Spoke works on smartphones, users also get smartphone features such as text and email access, so Spoke-enabled phones can become the single handheld tool for all office communications.
When honing your communications skills, be sure to think about the medium as well as the message.
Use effective communications techniques, but also consider whether it’s best to connect by email, phone, or some other means. With solutions such as Spoke and smartphone technology, the choice is literally in your hands.