My driving force in my personal and professional life is building bridges, solving problems, and making sure everyone has a voice. That means I must focus on building strong relationships, truly listening, and engaging in a genuine communication process. Not always easy and many times seems next to impossible. Too many times people don’t feel heard and an entire project and even relationship can be damaged or destroyed.
A Newly Defined Job Title
My role as an Account Manager can be better defined as a relationship manager. I work daily to build deep foundations with external and internal clients. Each group presents different communication challenges and barriers, which I must navigate continuously. A communication breakdown with a client can lead to a loss of trust, revenue, and long-term partnerships. While a breakdown of my internal team can be equally disastrous by causing projects to fail, loss of productivity, and distrust.
Does any of this nonsense about better communication really matter? Is it impacting my bottom line while truly driving growth for my organization and career? Stephanie Breedlove, entrepreneur and co-founder of Care.com believes it does just that AND has significant impact on results.
In her article for LinkedIn Breedlove states, “Our deep investment in communication has proven powerful and profitable, playing a tangible role in individual, team, and thus company success and growth. Management teams become life-long believers when they see their investment result in increased efficiency, productivity, speed of progress, band width for new endeavors, quality, strength of culture, and client value (just to name a few).”
According to ThoughtCo.com, “For communication to be successful, both parties must be able to exchange information and understand each other. If the flow of information is blocked for some reason or the parties cannot make themselves understood, then communications fail.” The communication process is much more intricate than the words themselves.
Focus and Attention Matter
I was recently meeting with a client and her phone kept ringing, over and over during our time. She finally succumbed to answering it and made an incredibly impactful statement. First, she confirmed that it was not a red-hot emergency. Following this confirmation, she said, “I am meeting with Renè and I owe her my full attention. I will owe you the same after this meeting.” With that one statement, I felt respect, value, and it made our priorities even more of a focus for me.
According to Alison Doyle, in her article “Communication Skills for Workplace Success”, the number one communication skill is listening. Doyle states, “Take time to practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding.”
Participating in the communication process and overcoming communication barriers is much bigger than talking or even listening. Taking time to contribute to a genuine process of communication will lead to more successes and stronger partnerships with the ultimate goal of increased revenue and profitability.
Five Tips to Communicate Effectively
We are all rushed for time and have about a millisecond to dedicate to making sure we are communicating properly. So here are five key elements that can be simply applied on a daily basis: