"When it's foggy in the pulpit it's cloudy in the pew."
--- Caveat Robert
At the top of the list of why small businesses fail is the lack of capital. But not far down the list is a failure to communicate or a breakdown in communication. Poor communication will sink a business, not always in an immediate fashion, but gradually over time the boat begins to take on water and isn't recognized until it is too late. Most of communication mistakes occur at the top with top management or the owner assuming that his or her instructions are understood, accepted, and carried out.
The old telephone game comes to mind. You remember: one person gives another a message and that person tells another and on down the line it goes until the last person reveals what they understood the message to be. By then, the message is nowhere near the original meaning or intent. That is the same way of how one message from just one business leader to a team member can be mangled and disemboweled.
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go."
--- Dr. Seuss
The first step in giving good direction is to first understand where you want to go. Know in your heart and head where you want to direct your business. If you can first explain it to yourself, you can then explain it to others. You have to conceive the plan and then believe the plan first and foremost. After that, the direction you give to others will come naturally and will be clear and easily received and accepted.
"Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
--- Don Miguel Ruiz
Next, choose your words carefully as well as the mode of communicating. If you are known in the office or shop as the one who is always talking poorly about others or knocking others down for a good laugh, then you will never be taken seriously. Always make it a point to have integrity in how you communicate, whether orally or electronically, and in who you talk about. Your people are always watching and they will only take you seriously when they know you can be trusted.
"Passive inactivity, because you have not been given specific instructions to do this or to do that, is a serious deficiency."
--- George C. Marshall
Finally, while it would be great to hire all self-starters and people who understand and grasp your dreams for the company with the same passion as you, it is simply not realistic. Instead, make it a point to give clear direction to your team, but then ask them to repeat what those directions are. It doesn't have to be in a facetious way, but in a manner that shows how serious those instructions are. Ask your employee to give their interpretation of what you directed.
The point is to give more priority to how you communicate to anyone and everyone related to your business- employees, customers, vendors, competitors, and the community.
"Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success."
--- Paul J. Meyer
Eight Ways to Lose the Sale: Inside the mind of a frequently frustrated print buyer
By Maggie Stevens
In order to have a successful relationship with your print buyer, there are certain 'dos' to foster a solid partnership. Perhaps more important, however, are the 'don'ts' that should never be forgotten.
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"This Water Is Not For Drinking"
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"Tattoo Charlies. Done while you wait!"
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"Drive carefully! We have two cemeteries. No hospital."
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