Imagine waking up in the morning, pouring yourself a cup of coffee and switching on the TV, only to find out from the news report you’re watching that you’ve been sacked from your job.
That’s exactly what happened to the now ex-manager of Manchester United Louis van Gaal, who learnt of his sacking this week after his wife spotted the news in a BBC report – before he was formally told by the club. Awkwardly, the same thing happened to former manager David Moyes just two years ago – United are probably feeling a little red-faced after making this PR own goal, again.
But what lessons can marketers learn from this? Well, a lot, actually. Blunders such as this show a fundamental lack of effective communication, which is pretty essential in every business, but especially in Marketing. Why especially in Marketing? Because how are you supposed to communicate a client’s message – or even just communicate with a client – before you can communicate within your company?
Effective communication is everything, so here are our top 4 tips to make it happen.
Yes, this is obvious, but it is fundamental. Having a strong and organised plan to facilitate communication is the foundation for effective communication in your business. You probably know to hold regular meetings, but what about beyond the board room? Suss out what other methods and resources you can utilise. Online databases where staff can post important updates might be something to consider. That way, if one person isn’t in the office, everyone has access to the important information at the click of a mouse.
But don’t plan everything
Sometimes flexibility wins over formality, and not everything needs to be born from the board room. Often, a good old tête-à-tête over tea is a more effective method of communication because it creates a comfortable environment, where employees can freely express ideas and convey information. Popping by and asking a colleague’s perspective on something might result in a more honest and reliable opinion than when they’re pressured to give the ‘right’ answer in front of everyone else.
This might even be a great way to communicate with some clients – if they’re super busy and don’t have time to read an in-depth report, picking up the phone and keeping them up-to-date might prove more effective than emailing them something they won’t read. It just has to be meaningful and suited to the client’s needs.
So back away from the email and revive the great lost art of conversation.
Make mistakes …but don’t shy away from them
Making mistakes is a part of business, and inevitably it’s going to happen. Without effective communication, mistakes are never going to remedied. Why? Because good communication facilitates conversation, and conversation is always better than criticism. When you hit a bump in the road, feedback will help you to understand why something went wrong, and what can be done about it. If you have strong and effective internal communication, learning from mistakes should be a collaborative project based on building, not breaking down.
Listen, don’t hear
You’d be mistaken if you thought communication was all about what you say. Marketers offer solutions to problems, so it’s easy to just tell a client what you’re going to do. However, the most important part of communication happens when you’re not speaking. That’s why we place lots of emphasis on listening – not just so we can offer clients the right service (we’d be with the likes of van Gaal if you needed a stronger online presence, and we gave you printed flyers), but so that we can understand how our solution fits into into their long term goals. If you’re just hearing something – whether it’s a client or colleague talking – it’s easy to assume exactly what the other person wants or needs. Really listening means that you’re seeing the bigger picture, and picking up on what the person speaking is actually trying to communicate to you.
If you’re struggling to communicate your message to your audience, get in touch and we can have a chat about what Digital Glue can do to help.