How many times have you had difficulties to get the right message to your work team? Have you faced hours of rework because the requirements are not clear? This is something that companies dedicated to website design, mobile applications, social media management, brand design, among other services that require constant teamwork. That is why you can not afford to do without good communication with the members that make up your team and with clients to achieve successful projects.
In this article we will talk about the importance of having a good business communication, what aspects are essential to achieve it and we will give you recommendations of applications that will help you to make the process more efficient.
What is business communication?
Let's start by talking about business communication, which is the process of sharing information internally (with or among your teams) and externally (with customers and partners). If this type of communication is effective and efficient, you can constantly streamline workflows and better collaborate with your team members. To help you understand the basics of communication, we will introduce you to the 7 C's of communication.
7 C's of communication
To provide complete communication you must specify the exact details of each task and ensure that the communication contains all the information needed to achieve success. Sometimes this may require you to overemphasize certain points or to anticipate and answer frequently asked questions to avoid misinterpretation or ambiguity.
In the case of conversations with customers, always remember to be as specific as possible and ask as many questions as necessary to ensure that the information is fully understood.
You must check that your written messages are grammatically correct. This point also applies to your customers, you should never make promises you can't keep, make sure promises are based on facts, it also saves you and your staff time and energy of having to dig into wrong details and avoids confusion in the workplace.
You can help yourself with some AI tools to make this job easier such as:
- Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/): you can install it for use in different applications to improve the way you write.
- LanguageTool (https://languagetool.org/es): you can install it on your computer as an application or as an extension within your browser and you will have the opportunity to write more formal or better written texts from the application you use frequently.
If you communicate clearly, you will reduce misunderstandings. We advise you to simplify your sentences by minimizing the number of ideas in each sentence: don't overload your listener or reader without giving them time to process each point.
Lack of clarity is also a common problem when dealing with multicultural teams. Thus, clarity can be maximized by using two languages to convey your ideas. You can also sign your employees up for language courses on learning platforms or encourage them to have conversations in the language of your interest if they are already proficient to reinforce knowledge.
There must be empathy for those you listen to and read, such as your employees and customers. This requires actively listening to their thoughts and comments, nodding your head to show interest and not interrupting.
Try to touch on a single topic and follow a logical progression of ideas. Short, direct messages are key.
When communicating during projects, whether with clients or with your team members, you should assign tasks or communicate requirements as concisely as possible so that there are no doubts and the project can meet all the expectations of the client in question.
Concrete communication should convey a logical argument, proposal or advice that is supported by solid facts from credible sources. This means that there should be no room for uncertainty or misinterpretation, so instead of sending a long message, try to get straight to the point.
This means that you should be polite and respectful in correspondence. The key is to be polite, professional and honest. In the workplace, there should be respect among employees and avoid biased language, insults and passive-aggressive tones.
Courtesy in business communication increases efficiency, which is crucial for employee and customer retention. The points on their own seem simple enough, however, when it comes to maintaining communication with a large work team and a large number of customers
It is of great importance to have good communication within the company to make teamwork more efficient, as well as with customers, for whom we work as a company dedicated to creating technological products.
Lack of clarity
As we mentioned in a previous point, it is very important to send clear and concise messages to avoid misunderstandings, the key is to generate direct, simple messages in concise fragments so that your interlocutors do not forget the key points.
Do not give updates
Remember that communication is a continuous process, so it is necessary to emphasize some points that you have communicated by sending them in different formats and at different times, likewise if you committed to follow up on a particular issue, do not forget to update the people involved even if it is to say that everything remains the same.
Don't assume that informing key people about something will cause a cascade effect where they will share that information with others. Rather, make sure you share the information with everyone you are interested in communicating with to avoid the information becoming distorted and confusing or incorrect.
How to foster good communication in your UX/UI design or development company?
You must facilitate horizontal and vertical communication within the company.
It is necessary that all members of the company feel confident enough to express needs or disagreements about processes, projects, even any internal problem that may arise. This is essential so that immediate bosses are aware of what is happening and how it is happening, as well as to encourage teamwork.
Always try to have a written backup
Regarding the projects that your company carries out, when there is a signed contract, it is important to take note of the agreements that are made in each meeting or review so that the client can have visibility of the steps that have been taken.
As far as possible, record calls with clients.
It is important to take steps to minimize discrepancies between customer requirements and the work to be performed by project team members. Recording calls can help you consult with them when necessary in case there are questions about the requirements.
Do not forget that it is necessary to have their written permission to record at specific times, this is very simple because most applications for video calls have a button that allows you to make the recording and the meeting is saved automatically, in the case of zoom the button to record the meeting is in the buttons below the meeting as shown below:
As for Google Meet, the recording button is located in the activities section in the bottom right corner of the screen:
Once the recording has been saved, you can consult it in your personal files folder in drive or within the scheduled event in the calendar as shown below:
In both cases you can consult the recording later if necessary.
Tools to streamline communication
It is essential to have an instant messaging tool to interact with the team in real time, such as:
It is a communication tool compatible with Mac, Microsoft and Linux operating systems. It is completely free, which is extremely functional for companies because you can create an unlimited number of public or private channels. In addition, you can assign different roles to members and provide specific permissions to each one. It has an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
It is a paid platform that allows you to get all the information your company needs, because you can send messages to anyone inside or outside your organization, you can also create channels to discuss specific topics. It is functional because it allows asynchronous work.
It is also of great importance to maintain face-to-face communication within your company, whether you work in person or remotely, as these channels are more efficient than phone calls. It is also very useful to provide attention to customers with whom you cannot meet face-to-face. Here are some applications that we recommend:
It is an application for video calls that became very well known in pandemic because it allows the participation of up to 100 people in free plan and 500 in paid plan, likewise the time limit of meetings in free plan is 40 min, in paid plan is unlimited time. It also has the function to record the meeting and share screen in case of presentations.
It is a software that allows you to make calls and video calls for free, as well as send instant messages and share files. With the paid version you can call phones and send SMS. The paid option has several facilities, as you can pay as you use it or pay for a subscription.
It is an interface that allows you to meet by videoconference, allowing you to join from any computer through the website or application. Anyone with a Google account can create a meeting for up to 100 participants for up to 60 minutes. It also has the option of automatic captioning.
Whichever interface you choose, remember that in addition to serving as a communication tool with customers, it is also very useful for virtual meetings. In our case, we organize monthly meetings with the entire team to encourage coexistence and participation, since we do not work in one place all together:
Work management tools such as those listed below allow you to know the status of the project in real time, ideally with a tool that has a dashboard, kanban, gant diagrams and calendars available to consult all the necessary details.
It is a useful tool to plan and manage projects, monitor progress because it is very graphical, and it also facilitates the generation of reports to improve team performance with real-time data. Due to its ease of automation, it saves time and makes the process of loading and assigning tasks more dynamic.
You will be able to assign specific tasks and include them in an epic (shown in purple) when they belong to a specific moment of the project.
Allows you to plan projects in a simpler way. It also simplifies work requests and allows you to consult the status of projects in a more graphical way. You can also grant permissions so that only certain people can make changes.
It will allow you to visualize and assign tasks just like Jira, as well as measure the progress of each one.
In this case, both applications basically perform the same tasks and offer you a similar way to create projects, assign tasks and visualize progress, it is a matter of preference.
When it comes to maintaining communication with suppliers, customers, agencies or people outside the company who do not have access to internal communication channels, email interaction is essential for effective communication.
Periodic publications (Newsletters)
They allow sharing internal company news to keep all team members informed, and it is also a tool that allows them to make public acknowledgements.
Tools to streamline workflow
Work tools are also part of the tools that help streamline communication, it is of great importance to have tools that make the team's work easier.
Nowadays it is easier to have the company's important files in a repository where team members can access them because in the long run it is easier to give access or restrict it without having a lot of physical papers in which we can lose information.
It is a storage service that you can access from a website so that your files are stored in the cloud, the free storage capacity is 15 GB. You can share files with whoever you want within the company.
It is also a cloud storage service that allows you to synchronize your files from any device, it even links to some applications, likewise maintains the security of everything you upload, so your files will always be protected.
It is a Microsoft platform to store files that can be shared with other people and have access from any device.
When team members have a large number of meetings or events to attend, if other members of the company can consult other people's calendars to schedule meetings with them or keep track of what activities they are doing, the calendar synchronization tools are:
Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar
You can schedule meetings, receive reminders, and it's a very easy way to check your calendar for you and your co-workers.
Here is an example of how you can view the calendar of your coworkers, this is very useful for companies like BluePixel that work remotely to schedule meetings:
The first step in Google Calendar is to enter the email address of the person you want to schedule a meeting with in the field provided:
Then you will see your colleague's schedule marked in a different color and you can search for a space that you both have free to schedule the meeting you need.
You can search for the schedule of multiple people at the same time.
Tracking the time spent by your company's employees allows you to monitor and document the number of hours spent on activities, pending, tasks or projects throughout the day in order to measure the efficiency of your employees. For this we recommend applications such as: tempo, clockify, harvest and everhour.
It is very important that you take into account that there are always areas for improvement in all processes, so contemplate that you must follow up and if you are going to use any tool like the ones we proposed you must make an evaluation of how it works and if it is necessary to change it or not.
In BluePixel we implement most of these processes, that is the reason why we recommend you to follow them first hand. It has been very useful for us to use tools to streamline the workflow since we are a company that works remotely, we also use recommended communication processes to ensure that our products and technology services are developed in the time agreed with customers and that their requirements reach our team in a timely manner. Likewise, implementing the 7C's of communication and carrying out a constant evaluation process has fostered a positive culture within the company.
If you are interested in learning more about processes and tools that you can implement within your company to streamline work and communication processes, remember to follow our social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn and stay tuned for upcoming posts on our blog.