Business Tips Part One: Communication

30 Jun

When I graduated college five years ago, I had no idea I would be working in an office, doing international sales, and secretary to a successful, inventor/businessman.  I have now been working in the business sphere for going on five years post-college.  I would say that I have learned a thing or two, some of which I deem “must-haves” for a strong, thriving business.

Rewind five years, and there I was, a new graduate, a solid education, and ready to set off into the world unknown.

I searched around my area for a job in my field of Theology, and after unsuccessful searches in my field, I landed a job in business.  God definitely has a sense of humor!

The biggest lesson I learned at my first job out of college was this: COMMUNICATION IS KEY.

communication -1

Communication has been a perennial brain-bender, anger-producing, stress-inducing piece of the puzzle of life, and without GOOD communication, companies and its employees suffer.

I don’t claim to be a guru with communication, but I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with not-so-good communication, and it’s nerve-wracking. AND I have a pretty good handle on how TO communicate, and how NOT TO communicate.

 The company that I worked for during that first year out of college had two presidents.  The company was a fledgling company

trying to spread its wings and gain momentum.

At this job I was given the tasks of anything from organizing the company move from one location to the new location, to meeting with the renter and negotiating costs, to organizing the company ribbon-cutting ceremony, prior to which I had helped pick paints colors for the walls, yatta yatta.  I was THE go-to.

Hence, I think it suffices to say that I did a LOT of running between people and places.

Communication was KEY.

Sadly, communication with and between said people in charge of the company was not so efficient or effective.  I would take messages if they were in a meeting or out of the office, and I would pass the messages along to them.  Many times, the phone calls were not returned.  (not good.)  As a result, we lost some business.

(My personal take on this: return phone calls regardless of potential business or not.  It’s just common courtesy.  Unless it was a message from an obvious tele-marketer trying to sell patio lanterns.  Or whatever. You get my point.)

Find your personal taste for communication.  There are a plethora of options out there:

– post-it notes

– emails

– Google chat

– dry erase board

– phone calls

– carrier pigeon (okay, maybe not a carrier pigeon, although that would be pretty sweet!)

communication -2

You don’t have to be an expert at communication.  You don’t even have to enjoy conversation.  But, for the love, get the message out there and make SURE, MAKE it your #1 priority to reply to everyone who has contacted you.  The exception is if you are one of the few who get bombarded with 100’s of emails a day.  in that case, prioritize important emails and phone messages and reply within 1-2 business days.  Same day is best, and next day is okay.

I’m of the opinion that courtesy and respect go a long way.  Do your fellow business people a favor and hit the “reply” button and send them a reply.  If it’s a voicemail, touch base and let the person know you got their message.  Or if in fact you DO have carrier pigeons, by all means use them!

Don’t leave the person hanging or waiting daaays for your reply.  Remember, their company success helps your company success.

Now, my job at the aforementioned company eventually came to a close.  The company ended up closing its doors.

  (Despite that happening, however, I will give kudos to the guys who saw an opportunity for business and gave it a shot.  It’s worth a try.  A business venture is a success if all the pieces come together and work as a whole.)

In closing, I will say one last thing.  Be respectful and kind in your messages.  Avoid crude comments and profane language. A business venture does not go far without tact and respect.

Communication, be it ever so complicated, can be a breeze if given the chance.

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