As an entrepreneur, everything about your business begins and ends with you. This means that, among many other skills, your communication must be excellent.
Employees and customers will look to you for answers, suggestions, and feedback. Think about it: if you are planning a product launch for two months from now, everyone involved in the launch will come to you with questions and concerns for the next several weeks. They will need to know about your preferences for graphic design, the language you’d like to use in the advertising, the product packaging, how to talk to an unhappy customer, and more. And your team will expect confident, clear answers.
Because this is your business and it matters deeply, it’s important to start practicing excellent communication skills. Clear communication will take a lot of the headache out of your business. Plus, it will keep your employees happy and informed.
Consider the following three C’s of communication. As you talk to your employees, clients, and customers, keep these three C’s in mind. This method of communication will ensure that your message comes across clearly.
The 3 C’s of Effective Communication
The What, Why and Who
The concept is your starting point. Basically, to communicate your concept, you need to master your pitch. Get the what and why out of your head and onto a piece of paper. You should be able to explain the basic concept in one or two sentences.
Ask yourself the following questions to gain greater clarity.
- Why is this a great idea?
- Why is it necessary?
- Who is it for?
- Why do they want it?
Consider each point. These are all a part of your concept, and communicating this clearly is absolutely necessary. You’ll need to communicate your concept to investors, family, friends, possible clients, and employees.
The When, Where, and How
In this step, you dive into the specific path you foresee your project taking. This is a chance to communicate the important details. Even if details are not your main strength, having structure is vital for communicating essential details to your team members. Investors and employees are typically the ones who want to know your course.
Consider these questions about your course.
- What is your timeline?
- What flexibility does your timeline include?
- Where will you unroll this project? Online? In a specific location? Internationally?
- How will all of the details come together?
You’ve established a team and are beginning to work on your plans. At this point, your concept and course are in the hands of a select group of people – your employees. By now, you have taken a step back and allowed others to have some control. This is where the final C becomes necessary: you have to learn to effectively communicate your criticism.
As an entrepreneur, you need to make sure you have a core group of people around you that work well with you and have a heart for your project. But we are all human, and sometimes you will need to correct or reroute an employee. It’s important to sandwich your criticism between praise. Acknowledge the things the employee did right.
Consider these questions:
- What expectation was not met? (Usually frustration arises because of unmet expectations.)
- What is the responsible team member’s personality type? How does he/she receive criticism?
- What are some things the team member did well?
- What are 2-3 practical solutions to the problem?
Whether you consider yourself a great communicator or not, there is always room for improvement. If you only choose to work on one business skill in your entire life, communication should be that skill. Words have power.
Which area of communication do you need work on? Share with me in the comments!