How Technology Made its Impact on Business Communication

How Technology Made Its Impact on Business Communication

Guest Post by David Webb

 

Nowadays, business communication has not only become faster, but more reliable as well. We no longer use carrier pigeons to relay our messages across great distances. Instead, we use communication software such as Skype and Viber to contact people in real-time wherever they are on the planet.

As a result of this technology, businesses, especially small businesses, are more efficient with their use of resources as well as their team management overall. Communication breakdowns were known to be quite costly in the past, but luckily for us, we’re living in the digital age, where swift communication is the name of the game. Therefore, here’s a more detailed explanation on how technology has made its impact on business communication:

Reliable Communication

 

Digital communication is both reliable and inexpensive, so much so that it totally replaced physical messaging of any kind in the business sphere. Once sent, digital messages have a better chance of reaching their destination than paper messages. As an example, there are no mailmen involved, so you won’t have to worry about them getting attacked by a guard dog and accidentally switching your letters in the process.

Also, apart from the occasional glitches, digital messaging is less prone to human error, as computers are more efficient at delivering them to the right source than we are. However, text messages are not the only thing we can send to our colleagues; the exchange of files is yet another thing we take for granted nowadays.

By using cloud storage software, employees can access their files even from home and can share them with the rest of the company as easily. This makes business data more secure as there are constant backups online in the case of a security breach.

Moreover, business communication has become instantaneous, with multiple colleagues often editing the same document or file in real-time. No matter where they are, the USA or Australia, co-workers can engage in work together from anywhere around the world at the same time.

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Video Streaming

 

Speaking of the land down under, there’s a technological revolution taking place. Sydney is slowly turning into Australia’s Silicon Valley. Companies are shifting from outdated business tech and practices to new innovative ones.

For example, large conference room meetings are becoming obsolete as they are steadily being replaced by video conferences instead. With these, workers don’t even have to abandon their work stations in order to attend one such meeting. Everything can be done from the comfort of their desks as webcams do the rest.

It saves businesses a lot of time and space and is better overall than making a phone call because you can actually see the person you’re talking to. In that sense, video streaming is more in-depth as you can convey both visual and audible information at the same time.

However, what this means is that workers in general, not just the managers, need to fall back to their presentation skills every once in a while to be effective during such digital conferences. Thus, this skill is becoming an essential trait for any successful employee, and will likely become the business standard in the near future, so honing it might be an excellent idea. Many local startup companies actually send their workers to presentation skills training in Sydney so they can acquire new and useful skills and get a head start.

Finally, video conferences can be recorded and stored as data to be replayed at a later date. Meaning, the information is never lost and can be looked up fairly easily when the need arises.

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Increased Productivity

 

Organizing a large group of people is cumbersome work for any manager out there. This is why, with the advent of technology, organizing your workers and co-workers has never been as simple as it is today. Project management tools allow everyone involved in the project to keep track of what exactly is going on it at all times. Tasks and sub-tasks are assigned to specific employees so there can be no confusion about what needs doing.

Consequently, this enables everyone to be on the same page both literally and metaphorically, as everything necessary is kept in a single virtual office. Moreover, the location of the employees doesn’t really matter, they could be half a world away and they could still work on the same project and the same boss could oversee their work as if they were all present in the same office.

Lastly, because communication is so rapid and data transfer made so accessible, businesses can use technology to their advantage and outsource some of their workload to other companies. This way, businesses can focus all of their efforts on growth rather than investing money into building their own in-house departments for certain services. Data storage and IT service companies are just one of the many examples where businesses can offload their extra workload because it’s made a lot cheaper by technology.

All in all, we’ve yet to see the full impact of technology on business communication. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning of technology’s true potential. New innovations will surely make communication cheaper and more enjoyable as is the case so far.

 

About the Author:

 

David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Why Your Communication Skills Are Uber Important

Having amazing communication skills is one of the most important things you’ll work on in business. Whatever position you’re in, ensuring nobody misunderstands you is a must. You want everybody to be on the same page. Here are a few reasons why your communication skills are so important:

 

Employee Morale And Satisfaction

Keeping up employee morale and satisfaction is crucial if you want to avoid a high turnover of employees. Your employees are your ambassadors, so you really need to keep them happy. By communicating with them effectively, you can ensure they stay with you in the long-run.

 

Customer Service

Being able to communicate for customer service purposes is also important. You’re never going to be able to please everybody, no matter how hard you try. You need standardized customer service processes that come with this. Being able to relate to customers and make them feel good about choosing you again is so important.

 

Customer Engagement

You don’t just want to engage with your customers when they’re upset with you. You need to make sure you’re engaging with them daily on social media, and that means being able to communicate as effectively as you can!

Being able to communicate effectively is a must. It’ll make your life so much easier, and ensure everybody is on the same page. You don’t even have to be a natural born communicator. You can build up these skills over time with practice.

Take a look at the infographic below for more information on this:


credit to USC Online Master of Communication Management

Cut The Small Talk; It’s Time To Communicate

How much of the communication that happens in your business really gets the message across, and how much is noise? That’s the big question that we’re going to try and help answer here.

Proper communication practice is essential in business. It saves time, it helps you solve problems better, it makes employees more engaged, it even helps you win and keep customers. But it’s a big, multi-faceted topic, so let’s break it down into a few questions, and the answers you should have ready for those questions.

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Is everyone communicating?

This is the big one. There might be some roles in the business you think don’t have as much to contribute as others. However, if you’re not taking the time to check in on them, you could miss some valuable insight.

Keeping an eye on employee performance is only one reason you should do it. It can help you highlight problems in the business operations from the individual’s perspective or bring to light new solutions from a viewpoint you haven’t considered.

Mostly, people like to be included in the business they’re in nine times out of ten. It shows you’re willing to spend some time prioritizing the individual, which they will appreciate and respect. Make sure this practice is learned by all of your managing staff.

Are people on message?

Another reason to ensure that you’re communicating with individual employees individually is to make sure that they’re actually behind what the business is trying to achieve. You might think that it’s important for them to just worry about what lies in their own role, but the truth is that aligning their work with your goals will always result in better engagement.

Rather than just doing work because they know they have to do it, the context of the collaborative objectives of their work can help motivate them. It makes them realize they’re not just a sole worker but part of a team that’s trying to achieve something better. Set clear goals and let employees know how they’re linked to the wider company goals.

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Do people keep asking the same questions?

The first time you hear a question, it demands an answer. The second time, it’s understandable. The third time you hear that same question, it’s starting to waste your time. New employees will need reassurance, but they should be able to find those answers by themselves. But only if they have a means to access them.

This is the process of creating sticky knowledge within the business. It might include the roles and responsibilities and point of contact for individuals. But it should include wider community practices and resources.

Many businesses will print this sticky knowledge out for new employees. However, hosting it online can make it a lot easier to amend with new goals and new knowledge. It’s crucial you make the sticky knowledge easy to read and easy to sift through, as well. If it takes an employee longer to find the information they need than it would to simply ask and receive an answer, you’re doing it wrong.

Are meetings mindless?

The team meeting can be a valuable use of time to quickly get everyone caught up on the most important developments in the business as well as to find and address problems collaboratively. Unfortunately, in a lot of businesses, they become a morning slog that your employees will hate and get very little from. If you want to run your meetings well, you need to make sure they have a purpose from the get-go.

The meeting should have actionable conclusions and, most importantly, they should have a set ending time. If you want to get employees more engaged in a meeting, then get them prepared for them as well. Ask them beforehand if there’s a point they want to bring up or a problem needing a solution. Get them to name the challenges of any point you’re bringing. Most importantly, make sure that responsibility is assigned for the solutions that come out of a meeting.

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Do you spend all day in your inbox?

Sorting out your emails might not be quite as much of a mindless banality as a bad meeting, but it is a time-sink. Keeping on top of emails is important, but it shouldn’t interrupt you all the time at work.

Set periods in the morning, afternoon, and the end of the day to work through your inbox and leave it. But what if people still need you? That’s what the next point is about.

Are you slowed down by single channel communication?

To deal with emails that still need an answer, you should learn how to prioritize them. For instance, set up a public-facing account and an internal account. But email shouldn’t be the only way employees reach out to find you. There are times to use email and times to use other methods.

If it’s a problem that needs a solution quickly, then a face-to-face or a phone call is much better. If you’re discussing a process or a question that’s not quite urgent but requires back-and-forth communication, then keep it to chat clients like Google Hangouts. Keep multiple channels of communication open for different purposes. For instance, emails aren’t good for back-and-forth. Similarly, face-to-face and online chats aren’t good for sharing information that needs to be repeatedly referenced.

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Do people get sent in circles?

Even worse than not finding the right way to communicate is not finding the right person to communicate with. If you have multiple people who deal in customer service or you have a business that has several different teams or locations, then getting sent in circles until the right person is found can be infuriating. It’s not enough to know the direction to point people in.

A business phone system can ensure that people can easily get directed based on the nature of inquiry they have. It saves a lot of time internally, but it also increases customer satisfaction. How many times can you think about when terrible customer service caused you to cast a business in a worse light? That will happen to you if you don’t organize a better internal redirection system.

Is distraction a serious problem?

Prioritizing communication is just as important. There are different levels of urgency and importance to different requests. But without distinction, any request can distract an employee from the task they’re currently involved in when they might have better been left to it.

Using an internal color code to highlight the importance of requests, whether it’s through email or through internal support software, can ensure that employees are only being interrupted and distracted when it’s necessary or when they can spare the time (if it’s less necessary).

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Are you open to employee ideas?

Helping employees communicate is just one step in fostering an environment where sharing knowledge is widely practiced. You have to make it clear that you and your managers are open to ideas. One way of doing that is leading by example.

A company newsletter can be a great way to share interesting ideas that aren’t quite important enough to feature in a team meeting, and they can be used to ask employees to contribute to them, as well. You should give them opportunities to come back with more knowledge, too. You probably can’t attend every industry event and conference yourself, so give the job to some of your employees and ask them to come back with some ideas.

Do you know how to communicate to the market?

Internal communication is essential, but you have to switch to a different track when you’re looking outside the business. The best way to do that is to better develop and understand your brand. You can create a brand guide that ensures you avoid using jargon in promotional material, memorize a voice for the business, and keep in mind the specifics of the audience you’re communicating with.

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Do you know how to listen?

Communicating with that target market isn’t just about making sure you’re understood. When it comes to the individual, it’s about making sure you understand, as well. If you’re in a rush to try and sell a client on your services, you might not really be listening to them. Leading the conversation and convincing them of the value of your business is one thing, but if they’re not contributing, or you’re not listening to their contributions, you’re not learning anything that could help you close the lead or improve the business.

Ask more leading questions. Get to know the specifics of their situation. Don’t immediately shoot down needs that your services don’t care to; try to think flexibly about them instead. Don’t diminish the importance of their needs in any way.

If you can answer all of the questions above in the positively, then your business communicates better than 99% of the others in the market. Communication is an on-going process and thus needs on-going fixes and examinations. It’s worth it, however, as every problem you solve wins you more time, more customers, and a happier, more engaged workplace.

Great Tools For Better Internal Communication

With the fast pace of business and media these days, it seems it’s harder than ever to get anyone’s attention. This applies not only to your marketing initiatives, but also the people who work for you. Without effective and reliable communication within your business, everything is going to suffer. Here, I’ve listed some of the most effective tactics for improving your internal communications.

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Credit: Pixabay

Use A Social Collaboration Platform

If you’re looking to improve communication within your business, one of the first things you should do is implement a social collaboration system, which will give your employees access to a single platform of communication. You’re probably already running a commercial phone system from a firm like Phonetel.

However, when it comes to sharing complex information and pieces of the work itself, you’re going to need something with more room for collaboration. With a social collaboration platform, you’ll be able to share important information seamlessly, and integrate it with your existing systems and software, allowing essential communications to happen when and where it’s needed, no matter what kind of device your employees are working on. It will also open up a great opportunity to bring together the data, processes and people needed for greater engagement through a much more convenient medium.

Provide Your Workers with Regular Feedback (Especially Younger Ones)

Younger workers, by which I mean Generation Y onwards, like to receive frequent and detailed feedback about the work they’re doing. Even your older workers, who may not care for specific pointers all that much, can benefit massively from it. If some of the people at your company are a little rudderless in terms of what they can be doing to be better workers, then this needs to change.

Start providing your workforce with a weekly status report, covering the projects they’re working on and the specific priorities within those projects. This should be followed by concise feedback from managers and higher-ups. By doing this, you’ll make your younger workers, and your staff as a whole, feel more empowered, and aware of how the work they do affects every facet of the business.

Create an Online Forum for Queries and Response

Online forums, especially if the company you’re running is fairly large, can be a hugely effective tool for better online communication. Today, there are many enterprise-based social networks, such as Yammer, which will give your workers an online platform where they can interact and engage with various different echelons of the company.

While the most straightforward function of this kind of communication is for workers to throw out questions and have them answered by colleagues with a little more expertise, there’s a lot more that an online forum can offer your business in terms of communication. Staff will be able to share documents and collaborate on projects throughout the network, whether their cubicles are right next to each other or they’re separated by several floors. This will break down your information silos, and make the whole company a melting pot of knowledge and experience.

 

 

A More Successful Blog Means Treating It Like A Business

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If you have a blog, but you want to make more of it, then there are some essential things you need to consider. The fact is, you can only get so far with your blog as long as you are thinking of it as ‘just a blog’. If you are looking for real, ongoing success, you need to instead think of it as more like a business.

Being business-minded with your blog means that you are more likely to see it become more and more successful – and what blogger doesn’t want that? Still, it is a good idea to take a look at the various things that you should consider.

If you are looking for ways to get your blog to be more popular and successful, then take a look at the following. Here are some essential aspects to bear in mind:

Planning

Ultimately, planning is one of the most difficult aspect of all – and one of the most important. With proper planning, it is much more likely that your blog business will flourish. If you do not plan, then you can’t be sure of where you intend to go. And from that, it is clear that your business is much less likely to enjoy the kind of success you hope for it.

When it comes to planning a blog, there is plenty to take on board to ensure you get it right. The most important thing here is that your plan is as detailed as possible. This is the key: detailed, clear steps towards ambitious, yet achievable, goals. Take a look at your blog as it currently stands. Chances are, you have a good groundwork to work form, but you need more substance. Or you could do with more followers.

If your blog is following a certain niche or topic, then look for other blogs in that same vein. Connect with them – but lay out how you are going to connect, and when.

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If you set yourself small goals along the way, you will find that you get a lot more done. You will also have a fuller sense of ongoing achievement – and this is important to keep you going. Another important part of planning is making preparations for the chance of anything going wrong. If other parts of your plan don’t work out, you need to know what you can do about that to improve the situation.

You might also find that mind-mapping is a great way to envisage the future of your blog. From this, you can then work out the logical steps towards achieving what you want to achieve. Take this stage seriously, and work at it diligently, and you will probably come away feeling ready and able to expand your blogging business into greater and greater success.

Branding

One of the most important parts of running a business is the branding, and this will be the same for your business too. When you are thinking about branding a blog, it is actually relatively straightforward to get it right. A brand needs to be a powerful, fix-all reminder of what your business stands for.

If you have developed a certain ‘voice’ or writing style which goes along with a specific personality, then this is essentially your brand. Work with this, and try to expand it into something a bit more concrete. Then it is just a matter of ensuring that you have real consistency with it. This means going through every bit of output and seeing whether it is brand-loyal. Even small details like the color of your header, and the design of the sites’ layout, need to come into consideration here.

When you send emails, does your signature give you away, or is it loyal to the brand? What about your comments style? You need to think about all of this if you are to get the branding right. With proper branding, your blog is much more likely to draw in greater and greater numbers of readers from all over the world. The point is: find a way of relating to people, and stick to it fully.

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Protection

All businesses need protecting from various threats which abound in the real world. You need to make sure you are doing everything in your power to protect your blogging business against such threats. As a blogger, one of your main concerns here is going to be the theft of your intellectual property. It is vital that you do everything you possibly can to protect your information and your content. Remember: as soon as you publish it, even online, it is legally your intellectual property.

If you see your work posted elsewhere, then you might be wondering what you can do. The truth is, you can actually take legal action against those people if you find your own work to have been stolen. A dmca service can help you to force them to take the stolen material down. This will often solve the issue, but first of all ask them and make sure it is just a genuine mistake. You need to protect your ideas and your writing if you are going to take your blog seriously as a business.

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Assistance

There is often the unconscious assumption that you can’t possibly take on any help. Something about the nature of blogging seems to suggest that it is to be done alone. However, this is nonsense. In fact, treating it as a business means that you should feel perfectly able to hire some help for your blog.

This can come in many forms, depending on what it is you need help with. Take a look at the idea of the human cloud to get you started here. This is the process of hiring virtual assistants and the like online. With this particularly new and unique form of outsourcing, you can pend much more of your time on the actual writing of the content, and less on the maintenance and admin of looking after the site. This alone could make all the difference.