Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

7 Methods to Achieve Successful Business Connections

7 Methods to Achieve Successful Business Connections 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Thanks to text messages, tweets, and limited attention spans, society has become all about instant gratification—we look for the quickest way to share a thought.

This is okay when captioning pictures of cute puppies, or when letting your friend know you’ll be there in ten minutes, but it’s a hindrance in business communication. Especially when you’re doing business with services that rely on specific instruction, a minimalist approach is counter-productive.

The generation now entering the workforce has taken technology for granted—they grew up with it and have grown accustomed to fast communication. They assume a minimalist approach translates to business, but they couldn’t be more wrong. They are surprised, dumbfounded, and amazed to see their projects come back completely wrong, which can lead them to blame the outside vendor.

Business communication should not be minimized—it should be maximized! Taking the effort to consider the ways your words could be misunderstood will save you time, embarrassment, and retaliation.

We use the following guidelines to help eliminate misinterpretation:

  1. Set clear deadlines: Be very specific. Set up reminders at certain points along the way. You can say, “Just wanted to see if you needed anything else on my end,” and then, “Does the deadline still work for you?”
  2. Say it both ways: Be clear. Let them know what you want and what you don’t Ask them to confirm their understanding. You can say, “What is your understanding about this project? I just want to be sure I didn’t miss any details.” You will be floored by what they didn’t understand. Good thing you asked!
  3. Call ‘em up! Don’t depend on email alone. Explaining what you want over the phone will have a larger impact. Record correspondence through email. Don’t forget to say, “If you have any questions or problems, please call me.”
  4. Don’t assume: Assumption leads to misunderstanding. Look at your message objectively—think how it could be misunderstood. We like to repeat our business communications aloud before we send them out. More often than not, we’re shocked by what we hear!
  5. Be specific: The more specific you are, the less room for “creativity”. If you’re not specific about design, wording, and even typeface, the recipient may feel they can do what they want, disregarding the complexity of your whole project.
  6. Give some wiggle room: Provide a cushion, both for yourself and the vendor. Do not leave anything waiting until the last minute. How much time do you think they need? Double it! Make sure your deadline is several days after theirs. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to review their work, and, if necessary, plenty of time to fix it.
  7. Recognize a job well done: If they get the work done right, let them know exactly what you liked about it. And don’t forget to thank them! Next time, they will be much easier to work with, they will make your assignment a priority, and they’ll ask better questions. 

To communicate successfully in business, you must think about what might go wrong, how to meet deadlines, and what might be misinterpreted—all before clicking the “Send” button. Take just a few more minutes to think about what you really want! This will save you tons of time in the long run.

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