Effective Business Communication

What is Business Communication?

In business, communication comes in many forms. It could be a memo to your team, a letter to investors, a press release, thetext for a job vacancy you are advertising, the text for an advertising campaign that you are just about to embark on, pretty much anything that involves you or the company passing on information to another party including members of the company.

 

What does effective mean, in this sense?

Every time that you or your company pass on information to another party including members of the company, you most probably have an intention, a goal, and outcome that you are looking for that “communication” to deliver to you. The big question is how successful you have been at this. In other words; if  your communication successfully brings you the outcome that you wanted then your communication has been effective, and if your communication does not bring you the outcome that you want, then your communication has not been effective.

 

So, how can we make our communications more effective?Especially since we all know that ineffective communication can be very costly to repair/fix in business. Fortunately help is at hand and there a lots of things you can do to become a more effective communicator. In fact there are many, many formulas for effective communication, and within each type of communication (Press-release, Job-Description, Letter to engage the services of a supplier, etc.) there are even more specific ways of communicating.

Here are Business Wizardry, our goal is always to arm you with the easiest, most practical method of achieving your goals, whatever they may be. So, for that reason we will only focus on the one formula for effective communication that we have found to be most powerful in terms of its effectiveness as well as it’s ease of use, that can be used for virtually every kind of communication you will ever wish to make as a Business Owner/Manager. This formula is called the A.I.D.A formula for effective communication, and below I will go through each of the initials:

Attention –

It is wise for us to assume that just before we wish to communicate to anyone, that the target of our communication is already pre-occupied with something else… a business meeting, solving a problem, a news article, a deadline, etc. If we agree to make this assumption then we will be wise to figure out a way to politely break their pre-occupation, so that our message can get through to them. This breaking of their pre-occupation is referred to as a “pattern-interrupt”, and any statements in our communication that do this will get their “Attention”. Typically you want these to be the very first section of your communication and in fact all of the A.I.D.A.are steps, that you need to follow, in order. An example of such an attention grabbing statement, if you make and sell shoes, might be “60% of children under the age of 10 today will need special and expensive help with their feet by the time they get to 55 years of age, if they do not take proper care of their feet”.

Interest –

“Interest”, follows on from where “Attention” left of. You will notice that Attention can be a general piece of information, but a gripping one. Interest needs to be a little more specific, closer to home… in order to get your prospect “interested”. It could be a statement like this one, “And even though most of us are already beyond that age and therefore risk-free, this condition is contagious!”. It is important to say that these messages do not need to be bad news, in fact they work very well for good news too. Imagine starting off with a general statement about people who have over-paid tax and them letting this specific audience know that they are most likely all eligible for a tax rebate.  

Decision –

At this stage we want our audience to know what they can do about the information that we have shared with them… we want them to know their choices. A statement there could be along the lines of “So, you can do nothing and put your health at risk, or you can seek professional advice straight away.

Action –

After we have taken the time to educate our audience on their options, we can now ask them to act… “So, call your doctor today!”

That is it! The simple to use, but very powerful A.I.D.A formula for effective communication.

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We hope you enjoy and benefit from our articles.

To your business success,

Joseph & the Business Wizardry Team.

Applying The 80:20 Rule To Business Development

The 80:20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle says that 20% of the ingredients in your cake mix will be responsible for 80% of the flavour, that 20% of your decisions will affect 80% of your life, etc. The two examples above are just that, examples, but we trust you get the point.

Many years ago, I was employed as a Sales & Marketing executive for a major firm with lots of clients and we were a busy department that was short-staffed, so in addition to my usual work load, I was given 1200 old contacts as part of a client-regeneration exercise at the beginning of the year when business was slow.

Knowing that these people had not heard from the company in ages, and that the only reason the boss had us doing this exercise was to bring in some money now, and add to that my personal take on client care which is to always offer the very highest levels of care that I can, at all times… putting all of these together, I quickly realised I had a problem… a few to be precise!

a)

I could never get around to all 1200 old contacts in the time-frame given my style on client care – slow, deliberate, and with full attention.

b)

If I was not doing something else to generate more additional revenue than the boss anticipated this exercise might bring in then I would have some serious explaining to do given that I was the only one who felt this way… and my job would be on the line.

c)

Back then I was very uncomfortable speaking to people I did not have an existing relationship with.

So, I thought about it, and came up with an alternative plan. I created a list of every client I had personally served over the cause of the last calendar year, analysed the data to see what the frequency of use of the company’s service had been over that year. I then decided on a level of frequency, and made up a shorter list that only consisted of those people/companies who had scored above that level of frequency I decided on. Next I checked my short-list against the list of 1200 I was given to make sure I did not create any problems calling these people because they had been allocated to one of my colleagues.

Once everything was clear, I had a short list of about 30contact to call. Compared to 1200 this was more manageable for me. It is important to note that I did have colleagues who did not have a problem calling their list of 1200, but I know myself, and this was not for me.

Anyway, I called my list. Many needed to have their memories jugged to remember me, or the company, but for the most part they all had favourable memories of our dealings and quite a few agreed to use our services again. This list took me just a couple of days to go through given my pre-existing work-load, but what was significant was that it very quickly turned into snowball of re-activated business that kept coming in for months.

The moral of the story?

I focused only on my 20% that brought in 80% of the sales revenue. If I had focused on the 80%, that was the 1,200 contacts, this would only have brought in 20% of the revenue and the process would have really frustrated me.  

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We hope you enjoy and benefit from our articles.

To your business success,

Joseph & the Business Wizardry Team.

Congruent Clarity = Better Business Decisions

Let me begin by saying that we nearly always have a choice, however in the heat of the moment the fact that we have this choice is many a times the very first thing that we throw out of the window.

In Business-life, you will face many challenges, some you will have rehearsed for and been ready for, and some, will come without warning and catch you unawares… what will you do in those situations? Will you react purely from the perspective of what has just happened? Or will you respond from the broader perspective of what your goal is and what in this moment you can do to move at least one step closer to your goal?

Clarity about this distinction will mean that most of the time you will make the right decision, whereas obliviousness about this distinction can be detrimental to your business and your own brand/image. Here are a few examples to help:

Some time ago I was meeting with someone very important, our venue was a coffee house and I accidentally put sugar into my client’s cup instead of mine. Some people would have blown their top at this, or insisted I get them a fresh cup, but this person did neither. I was very impressed with they way they chose to handle the matter because it allowed us to continue our important discussion without distraction or negative emotion. That is just a private example, but here are two recent and  public examples.

It was the Oscars just a few days ago and “The Artist” won best film. Earlier that afternoon, Ryan Seacrest was on the red carpet in a smart black dinner suit and working; meeting, greeting and chatting with the celebrities as they made their way down the red carpet. The comic actor Sasha Baron Cohen arrived as one of his characters, carrying an urn and proceeded to “accidentally” deliberately pour the ashes from the urn onto Seacrest’s suit. Seacrest had a choice… He could flip, or he could keep in mind his goal for the next few hours and focus on achieving his goal. He very intelligently cut to commercials and was back a few short minutes later, looking cleaned up again and interviewing celebrities for his channel. Here is a YouTube clip of the moment,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhAg0COnqds

Here is an even more public example, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel was at an important and meeting, as world leaders usually are, when a waiter accidentally spilled not one, but 5 full glasses of beer on her… What did she do? She was amazing… obviously she felt the liquid spill, but I suspect that given the time of her engagement, realised that she had no time to change, so she graciously sat through it, literally and proceeded with the important meeting she had scheduled. Here is a YouTube clip of that moment,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG3TrH4xBTU&feature=related

In both cases, of course these people are only human and were both shocked/surprised by what happened, and that showed, and of course it should because they are human, but what is important is that they never lost sight of their objective.

If you would like to be notified when our next article is published, please request notification right here.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from our articles.

To your business success,

Joseph & the Business Wizardry Team.