You know that old saying: "Success is 90 per cent perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration"?
Well, I’d like to modify that equation slightly.
I think success is made up of a number of important parts, but at least 50 per cent is good communication.
What do I mean by that?
In today’s tech age, we can void work and responsibilities by failing to respond to emails or not picking up the phone and talking to people.
We’re all used to this.
We send out queries into the email void and sometimes we hear back and other times we don’t.
A lot of the time, it’s understandable.
People get lots of emails — I know I get too many — so it’s easy to misplace one or two.
But I’ve been thinking lately about how important communication is to success.
All of the successful people I work with, all have this one trait in common — they’re excellent communicators.
I think we all realise that great communication matters, but not every one knows what that looks like.
So here is my rulebook for communicating well and clearly.
1. Respond to emails quickly
This one may be the most important rule of all.
What happens if you get a reputation for being slack at returning emails?
People stop emailing you.
Now some days you may think this is a good thing but, in business, you definitely want people emailing you.
If you get an email that doesn’t require much thought then respond straight away.
If it will require some follow-up, then let the sender know.
Trust me: you’ll stand out from the pack because that kind of courtesy can be in short supply these days.
2. Keep people in the loop
Sometimes, we can’t respond to people over email because we’re waiting for others to get back to us first.
In this instance, it’s always good to let people know.
A quick email telling the person that you’re waiting on a piece of information, but you’ll get back to them as soon as you can speaks volumes.
It shows diligence and professionalism but, most importantly, shows respect for the other person’s time.
3. Don’t "cc" irrelevant people
One more point about email: make sure you use the cc function wisely.
Don’t cc in every person in the company just to show how much work you’re doing.
People will see through this.
Plus, they’ll get annoyed.
We all receive so much email and people don’t like receiving any more than they have to.
Only include those who need to know what you’re sending.
4. Don’t take out your stress on others
People respect those who can handle stress.
It’s as simple as that.
Fly off the handle too many times and you’ll lose the respect of your staff and clients.
The best managers, the most successful people, are like ducks: calm on the surface but paddling fast underneath.
There’ll be days when things fly at you from all directions and you’ll feel like you can’t take anything else on.
Successful people have a healthy inner dialogue that keeps that stress in check.
They don’t moan about how busy they are, how exhausted they feel, because they know what kind of effect that has on their staff.
They communicate what they want from staff without communicating their stress.
5. Be consistent and professional
A great communicator is consistent.
Clients and staff hate changing goal posts.
They like clear frameworks for what is expected and needed, and if you’re inconsistent then people will start to tune out.
It all comes down to knowing what you stand for and then communicating that.
If this is a weak spot for you, then take some time to outline what it is you stand for and how you work.
Then make sure you’re giving that consistent message to those around you.