People fascinate me. While others may choose to spend their time at a major sporting event or seeing the latest blockbuster movie, I am at my happiest sitting on a park bench amidst the chaos of a city, just watching the world unfold. To me, there is no finer entertainment. Fortunately, my wife is a fellow people watching enthusiast, so we can wile away our time together in its pursuit. This fascination was kindled 30 years ago when I was an aimless undergraduate student. On a typically hot afternoon at the University of Arizona, I stumbled into my first Human Communication class and I was hooked! For the next 4 years, I studied non-verbal, persuasive, organizational, interpersonal and group communication. I wound up with a degree, but more importantly a framework that I could use to make some sense of what I observed not only from the comfort of a park bench, but also from the conference rooms and boardrooms where I would spend my next 25 years. What I learned in the application of that observational framework was simple, but incredibly powerful.
On a typically hot afternoon at the University of Arizona, I stumbled into my first Human Communication class and I was hooked!
People grow businesses and a company’s ability to connect, relate and communicate with them is the primary determinant of its future success. An organization is not unlike an individual. Externally, it needs to tell its story, to self advocate and have its voice heard. Internally, it needs to communicate where it wants to go, why it wants to go there and how it plans to get there. As individuals, we have those internal conversations constantly, both consciously and unconsciously. Every time we move forward, it is our brain communicating with our legs, encouraging them to take that next step. Organizations cannot take it unless they are able to communicate both externally and internally. The more effective they are in doing so, the larger that next step can be.
People grow businesses and a company’s ability to connect, relate and communicate with them is the primary determinant of its future success.
Effective organizational communication starts internally. The best strategic plan is meaningless unless the elements of that plan are clearly communicated in a manner that resonates with those charged with its execution. Many companies go to great lengths to assemble the most talented people they can find. But, unless an organization’s leadership connects that talent with a sense of purpose, a shared vision and feeling that they are heard, cared for, valued and respected, it is all for naught. The spark of Innovation comes from a healthy dose of creative abrasion. An organization that does not provide its people with the tools to navigate that friction runs the risk of slowing the pace of change and finding itself behind the market.
The spark of Innovation comes from a healthy dose of creative abrasion.
Externally, it is all about finding and building relationships with those who buy your goods and services. To be successful, an organization must understand its customers and know how to have meaningful conversations with them. They must invest in the requisite training to ensure that every customer-facing employee is capable of having those conversations. They need to be certain that everyone of them knows how to ask the right questions, truly listen to the answers and add value in their response. An organization must operate from the belief that every customer interaction is an opportunity to build or break trust, enhancing or destroying relationships. The time and cost of customer acquisition is enormous. Great external communication allows growing companies to build strong emotional ties between their brand, their products and the customers that use them.
To be successful, an organization must understand its customers and know how to have meaningful conversations with them.
30 years later, I am still just as fascinated as I was in that first class. But, that fascination is now joined by a recognition of how vital communication is to the health and growth of a company. I spend my days now working with organizations to help them understand the importance that good communication plays in their future success. I would encourage you, if you feel you company is stuck, or not growing at an acceptable rate, to evaluate the efficacy of the way you connect, relate and communicate with people, both internally and externally.
Now, through the magic of social media, we have a chance to connect, relate and communicate with each other. What are your thoughts as to the importance of communication? Do you feel that either external or internal is more important than the other? How does your organization work to improve its communication? Please use the comment section below to share your answers or any other thoughts that might lead to a broader conversation.
Thanks for reading.
I want to invite you to join our GROW Community. It is an opportunity to further connect, relate and communicate. We will also share helpful articles, tips and tools.
Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations, develop integrative leaders, inspire employee enlightenment, practice mindful marketing and build lasting relationships with their customers. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.
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