We are officially in the midst of the digital age, and while technology may be a defining feature across many facets of life, it is not evenly spread. In the world of business and employment, the prevalence of technology is significant and is only going to carry on in the same direction.
People working in Human Resources have an understanding of exactly what this will require of people in terms of skills and behaviours, but it can be difficult to implement these changes in the workplace. Here, presentation coach and author of “Unlock Your Business Voice” (Rethink Press) Simon de Cintra shares his advice on taking advantage of the digital age to unlock your business voice.
1 : You Cannot Resist Change
Resistance to change can be a real spanner in the works for a business or workplace, and the initial discomfort brought about by change has to be embraced if results are going to be achieved. If you know you’re not up to scratch on the online communication platforms that are best suited to your sector, put in the effort to do some research and familiarise yourself with it. Find someone in your workplace who is well versed with technology and ask them to give you a little tutorial. Don’t forget – everyone is a beginner with technology at first, so don’t feel embarrassed.
2: Utilise Social Media In Business
The impact of social media across society is well documented and evident, and its effects have definitely seeped into the workplace. It is becoming more common for people to work out loud and share work-related matters with the online community, so used in the right way can be a great tool to empower your voice. Social media is perhaps the most efficient way to directly talk to people like customers and stakeholders. In longer-distance business relationships, Skype and other forms of virtual meetings not only save time and money but can take some of the pressure off and make it a more relaxed and comfortable environment. Falling behind means being left behind in the world of technology, so make sure to keep up. If you struggle to manage social media yourself, think about hiring a professional to do it for you.
3 : Keep On Track Through Organisation
The many platforms and their uses make proper organisation essential. This means sorting your contacts, the platforms they have access to, and keeping on top of responses efficiently. Making lists or spreadsheets can be a great way to help monitor ingoing and outgoing correspondence and ensuring nothing important slips through the net.
4: Take Your Time When Responding
While there are plenty of benefits to communicating online, it has a number of drawbacks, and your loss of control over the correspondence once you send it is a big one. Many people have felt the backlash from sending online messages without giving them a once-over, and all it takes is one poorly or ambiguously worded tweet to cause permanent damage to a brand or reputation – especially if it goes viral.
5: Be Clear And Concise
People prefer online texts to be succinct and easy to digest, and too much text without much point can quickly deter people. For this reason, it is important to minimise waffle in order to make your point without wasting time or effort. If you are aware of a tendency to ramble, take the opportunity to consciously address it, and take steps to refine the way you speak. I always advise people to switch their mind setting from ‘transmit’ to ‘receive’. This involves opening your mind to what is expected by those you are speaking to, and using this as a template to your speech or writing. This will help you to trim the fat and leave the meat of the point you are trying to communicate, saving time and effort and engaging people much quicker.
6 : Don’t Neglect Human Interactions
The prominence of technology can make it difficult to lose grip on the importance of interacting face to face, and a lot of people have become so accustomed to staring at a screen for prolonged periods that some don’t even recognise how minimal their personal communication is. This is a common problem, but to really unlock your voice – both in and out of the workplace – you must be efficient at communicating with others in a variety of ways. So take steps to increase the amount of face to face interaction you have with others. Whether it’s talking in person or simply calling them on the phone rather than emailing, do what you can to make it a more personal experience. If you struggle, think about HR Communications training.
Although it can be daunting, there is no need to feel overwhelmed by the many options for communication on offer these days. Use the opportunity to unlock your business voice and bring it onto the table. You may already be used to the ever-changing landscape of business, with colleagues, operations and tools changing constantly, and this is just another aspect of work that needs to be approached with flexibility, confidence and willingness.
About the Author | Simon de Cintra
Simon de Cintra has over 25 years experience in business and provides coaching and mentoring for people who are looking to gain confidence with their public speaking skills or want to learn how to lead and influence others.
In 2006 Simon founded MyFirstTrainers® and has delivered workshops at leading business schools and internationally for major blue chip companies. Simon specialises in personal impact, influencing and persuading stakeholders and public speaking skills for introverts working in complex and highly technical environments.
His varied career inspired him to seek the formula behind authentic communication revealed in his new book Unlock Your Business Voice – How to speak as well as you think (£12.99, Rethink Press). On-sale now from Amazon at £12.99 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unlock-Your-Business-Voice-speak/dp/1781332908/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518708815&sr=8-1&keywords=unlock+your+business+voice+simon+de+cintra