A Best Places to Work Company, Part 3- Communications
In the fist of the journey to becoming a Best Places to Work, I shared the 3 things that Vistage business leaders believe impacted their status as a Best Places to Work company: values, transparency, and communications.
Part 2 of the journey I wrote on how leaders can become more transparent and the final factor that can influence your ability to become a employer of choice is communications.
One of the leaders on the panel, Robert Ballentine, CEO of Ballentine & Company shared some of what he and his company learned from the employee survey. He realized that often what he and the leaders of the company were communicating wasn’t sticking. You can’t communicate too much, was his conclusion.
The interest in storytelling as part of a leader’s skills has taken off over the last several years. It has become so important to a leader’s effectiveness that companies such as 3M, Motorola, and P&G have started training leaders in storytelling. So what is all the hype about?
A good story engages the listener and when told well it can connect with people’s emotions. The power of a good story can influence and motivate teams to new heights. According to Paul Smith, author, Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, the 5 most common uses for storytelling by leaders are:
1. Inspiring others
2. Setting the vision
3. Teaching important and impactful lessons
4. Defining corporate culture and values
5. Sharing who you are and what your beliefs and values are with others.
Very the Delivery Method
The workforce currently comprises 4 generations all with different preferences when it comes to communications. The Traditionalists (prior to 1946) prefer face to face and phone conversations, the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) are more email and phone orientated, Gen Xers (1965-1979) are also more likely to prefer email and phone conversations, while the Millennials (1980-2000) prefer texting.
So when it is time to communicate, make sure that you use the appropriate delivery method based on your employee base.
The Rule of Seven
This rule originates from the advertising industry. The Rule of Seven states that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they will decide to buy a product or service.
Leaders, you need to understand that your message not only needs to be convincing like a marketing message but it also needs to be heard multiple times! If I had a nickel for every time I heard a client say this or something similar: “Well I told them that xyz was happening and then when it did they were surprised as if I had never told them” I would be writing this from the Tahitian Islands in my beachfront property.
Once is never enough, three times is getting better, and seven times is a charm.
When was the last time that you delivered an important message multiple times?
As a leader, communication skills are the foundation of what sets you apart from others. Make sure you review and incorporate these three critical elements: storytelling, multiple channels, and multiple times, so you can insure that your message is heard and remembered.