Will it be long before we see the complaint “they told me it was over to my face! It was horrible…why couldn’t they have done it by email or WhatsApp?” In an age of social media, and I do a lot of it, research increasing shows talking still gives us the best results. This is true for sales, dealing with colleague, team and employee problems. The same for suppliers, investors, and companies we invest in. I want to write here briefly about some of these specific situations, with some great examples, case studies and help from experts, I will share. You can turn challenging situations into business opportunities by talking face to face. A profitable part of your wider written business communication toolkit.
Marketing and Sales
There’s a great quote in this Drum marketing article “Are we alone together?”. It refers to some Ofcom research on the amount of time people spend online. It stresses the benefit of creatively working together and networking. Whilst Entrepreneur magazine says: Email Is Great But Face-to-Face Meetings Are 34 Times More Successful here explaining the importance, face to face of nonverbal clues, trust, participation and various other factors. But it’s not just meeting people for selling or marketing in business that interests me….
Employees – Staff Members
The more successful organisations and companies succeed partly because they have a clear focus, good leadership and good communication. Even with all this, problems arise. There is an excellent guide on Challenging Conversations and how to manage them from ACAS here. It features, videos, questions, answers and videos.
There is an organisation and woman who has created a highly successful business by straight talking! It’s more appropriate to describe it as better listening. Susan Scott is the CEO of Fierce. Her philosophy is all about recognising the importance of our conversations and concentrating 100% on what is said to you and what you say. I have written about it here in another blog. I have found this incredibly helpful in every facet of life: Board Meetings, personal life, investor discussions, selling and also with…
To satisfy your most important people, your customers, you need great suppliers. We are lucky to have worked with great suppliers over the years. Like everyone we’ve had issues – probably they had issues with us! But it’s best sorted like all things with appropriate communication. When a contract is needed, of course, you need documentation and processes. As appropriate: a contract, Business Plan, Bookkeeping form, NDA, invoice, APP (for a mobile online solution), or whatever documents and so, are all tools for business. But talk when talk is needed. This may be a formalised review or discussion. Possibly very brief, so a call periodically, Skype or similar online call. Sometimes things go wrong and you or I may be in the wrong! Here is a nice little article that makes some of these points: Those awkward conversations with suppliers – from the VALUE CHAIN GROUP.
Time is Precious
The agile, lean movement developing solutions quickly – off the back of software and development and Japanese continuous improvement – saves time. So let’s not waste time talking and meeting for meetings sake. A recent survey by the MOO Agency, reported in The Times, found “Nearly one million people spend more than half their working week in meetings…more than 1,000 workers suggests that more than 20 million people attend at least one meeting a day.” At Dorset Business Angels, we have short, sharp meetings such as 2 hour Board Meetings quarterly. Like any business we survive on a raft of processes, a clear vision, strategic plan, business plan, financials, documentation and so on. But the philosophy is to talk robustly whenever appropriate and work in an efficient manner. For example, at the Board Meeting we produce a 1 sheet action point list, produced by the Chairman within 2 hours of the meeting. And talk by phone, keep emails brief, and it’s all helped by having excellent experts to provide the right tools. Ellis Jones solicitors our legal partner sponsors help us and members with investor documentation. Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants provide financial and tax advice for investors. And UK British Angels Association UKBAA a wide variety of expertise and documentation on private equity investment. In all cases these partners meet with us, and investors, when appropriate and provide documentation again when appropriate. You can turn challenging situations into business opportunities by talking face to face. A profitable part of your wider written business communication toolkit.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited