Get a Communication Plan in Place


New research shows that companies that communicate better, both internally and externally, have better ROI (that's Return on Investment, for all of you liberal arts' majors out there!). Can you figure out why?
According to the article, "The Many Benefits of Effective Communication Plans," effective internal communication "engenders a strategic discussion about your company and its industry, leading to continuous improvement and innovation that anticipates and addresses market needs." Wow! That's pretty impressive: something as seemingly small as having a Communication Plan can set your company apart from the competition. If you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense: how often have you worked in a company whose communication was dysfunctional? Colleagues sniping about one another, people afraid to talk to supervisors or project managers due to a fear of being belittled, people writing emails that go nowhere or writing other documents that fail to showcase the organization's talent. 

External communication is just as important because what many companies forget is that the written document, whether an email, a report, or manual, is their product. It doesn't matter if your firm makes the best widget on the planet; if the firm can't convey in writing how the widget works or why that widget is the best, then that it's the best doesn't matter.

Consider this: all of us make judgments about companies based on the written document; we may decide not to do business with a company because of poorly worded message or typo, or because the message makes us work too hard to get to the point. Any number of issues can render a message useless by a reader. I remember receiving a letter years ago from a firm interested in handling our finances. The letter itself contained a couple of typos and grammar mistakes but, beyond that, the message was convoluted. My response: "If this company can't even handle writing a letter, how in the world will they be able to handle my finances?" And I am not alone--we all do this, whether we're aware of it or not. So, it stands to reason that poorly conveyed external messages would result in lower ROI, lost business, and frustrated clients. 

To increase your ROI, ensure that your corporation has a communication plan in place, for both internal and external communication.

How would you describe the communication environment at your firm? Open, closed, or you don't want to know!