Earlier this year, the Project Management Institute (PMI) released a study showing that $135 million out of every billion spent on business projects is put at risk as a result of ineffective communications. Businesses that are not paying attention to the ways they communicate internally and externally are opening themselves up to unnecessary losses.
Part of this is related to an overreliance and the misuse of email. Email is a phenomenal tool, but it can cut down on direct personal conversation that can be necessary to communicate complex concepts. Companies can also quickly find themselves loading their emails with personal inhouse language that can create a barrier to new employees and to outsiders when it comes to communication. It is also easy for emails to turn informal, filled with slang and poor grammar that can be a turn off for outsiders.
Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder of Keeping it Human Inc., believes she can help companies overcome these communication difficulties. Her company works to help companies develop efficient communications practices while also finding ways to tell a company’s story and humanize it.
For Guest, before external communications can be improved, internal ones need to be. The first priority of her company is to help enable clear communication and storytelling within a company and across branches of an organization. To do this, she encourages businesses to take time when composing their internal messages and consider a few factors.
The first thing to consider is audience. By considering the audience and making an attempt to empathize with them, you approach people at their own level. Next is eliminating technical speak. Using simple and powerful stories with a level of emotional significance is more memorable than a detailed technical explanation. Finally, laser sharp focus is needed to make sure unnecessary detail is eliminated. Communicating the big picture is more important than small details.