“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
George Bernard Shaw
No matter your job role, your company size or industry, communication is something we practice every day. It develops trust, builds relationships and forms valuable bonds. It allows us to express our frustrations, our concerns and share our successes with colleagues and teammates. Without clear, consistent communication, we leave ourselves open to mistakes and negative relationships.
In a client facing role, this is something you cannot allow. You need your clients to trust you, to understand you, and to feel comfortable that they can approach you at any time.
I have a theory about communication in general which I believe is also extremely relevant to a professional working environment;
Every time you communicate with another person - whether they be a stranger on the bus, a client on the phone, or a work colleague in the kitchen - that is one more person whom you have connected with; one more moment of bonding between two people. The more we communicate and bond with one another, the greater the understanding we have of each other and the world around us.
We are much better equipped to handle a testing task for a client or a difficult conversation with a colleague if we feel we have a clear understanding of one another. Communication is the key to any ongoing relationship, and it is the key to building good trust with your clients and colleagues.
To truly master the art of communication, whether externally with your clients and other third party companies, or internally within teams, it is crucial to be open and honest and to remember we are all working towards the same goal. It is not necessary to hide behind an email or unnecessarily rely on another colleague to pass messages for you. Work will get done a lot faster and to a much higher standard if we find ways to communicate with each other a little better every day.
In roles such as mine where our clients are the number one priority, good communication is absolutely critical. Methods of communication vary from clients to client, and the way we may address a potential client will be different to the way we address our internal teams, third party companies, publishers and so on. It is crucial to these roles that you communicate clearly and effectively in every aspect of the job. Every time you have a conversation with a new client it is different, every person you speak to on the phone is a new name and face you are yet to be acquainted with; and let’s be honest, first impressions are everything.
There is nothing worse than trying to get hold of someone only to be greeted by misery on the other end of the phone. We all have bad days, that’s a given - but the difference is your ability to let that go and still communicate in a professional and positive manner. No client is going to want to hear from you if you are in a bad mood. How can you expect to sell something if you can’t bring the quality of your communication in line with the qualities of your brand? How are you going to explain to your internal team the urgency around something or the difficulty in a task if you feel you can’t approach them? Team building exercises and having good team morale are hugely important to these internal discussions.
In my opinion, it all really comes down to understanding that we are all here to do a job and we want to do it well. If that means facing a conversation you have been dreading or being honest with a client about something that hasn’t quite gone to plan then that is something you just have to do. You will find in most cases the client will gain a lot more respect for you as a person, and for the company you represent, if you are able to be honest and open with them from the start.
Here at Databowl we pride ourselves in being transparent and open with our clients. It is a big part of who we are as a company and it is something we strive to do every day, both externally and internally. Granted there is always going to be difference in opinion, disagreements, and battles, but when we take a step back and realise that actually the only reason this happens is because of the true level of dedication and passion that encompasses our office, suddenly any feeling of doubt or negativity is turned in to positivity and team spirit. Thrive off one another’s opinions and passions, as this will only continue your learning and development. Come on, let’s just talk about it!