The Importance of Communication to Business
The words you say — and the way you say them — may change over time. The devices you use to send those messages get smaller and smaller every year. And the voice delivering the statements may not even be your own, but something artificial. But no matter who, what, where or how your message is delivered, the importance of communication never goes out of style.
People grapple with generational differences. It may be Baby Boomers versus Millennials in a race to see who’s going to be coolest. Or perhaps it’s Gen Xers trying to outdo Depression-era elders in a pitch for relevance. More and more, competing voices from different ages may not use the same slang, but they may actually be saying the very same thing — and yet they can still end up arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong.
Communication is vital for society, and yet it changes all the time. Every new generation comes up with its own accepted words: “groovy,” “cool,” “bad” or “killa,” just to name a few. If you own or run a business, it means you have to take into consideration the culture of your target audiences — all of them. It just may be time to brush up on the trendy parlance while ditching your old vernacular, especially if you intend on reaching all the available markets.
The Importance of Communication in Business
It’s one thing to have a communication gap within the ranks of your company. You can always hold in-house workshops to help the various generations learn how to speak to one another, or let them duke it out (metaphorically, of course) in your dining hall or HR offices. And while the importance of communication can’t be overstated for smoothing your internal operations, you won’t have any internal operations to worry about if you don’t bridge that gap with your customers and potential customers.
If the first step in overcoming a bad habit is to admit you have a problem, then the first step in updating your marketing message is to realize that maybe your message isn’t hitting all the targets you’d planned to hit. The importance of communication in your marketing message can’t be all things to all people. You have to keep an open mind and be willing to admit that maybe you don’t have all the answers. Maybe, just maybe, you are wrong sometimes!
The Fix Is In
You may believe that to reach all the generations, all you have to do is to cover all the delivery bases. So you put your marketing message out in the local newspaper, in industry magazines, on your website and through a ton of social media platforms. Covered? Not quite. You also must be sure that your message is clear and understood by everyone who receives it.
Take a look at few examples that show how a simple word or phrase can be taken so differently by diverse generations:
- “Are you going social today?” If you ask a younger client, she may think you’re asking if she’s spending time on Twitter, while if you ask your older readers, they may think you want to meet them at a dance party.
- When an older person says, “Sure,” she means “OK.” Younger people, though, use the same word when they’re not paying attention.
- “Special” used to mean precious and uncommon. Now it’s basically a euphemism for someone with a mental handicap.
These just show a few tips of the icebergs floating in the treacherous waters of mindless communication. That’s why the importance of communication — actually reaching your target audience — is the key to marketing. Bad or miscommunication can break your marketing campaign if you’re not careful. And there are plenty of examples that are far worse, such as believing that all you need to do is get the syntax right and your true intentions become abundantly clear.
The Fix Is Not In
You know what happens when you assume something. It almost always ends poorly. And that’s what happens when you assume that everyone in your target group speaks the same language, cares about the same values and relies on your services and products with equal passion. You learn the importance of communication if you try to reach the masses the same way you send a text to your partner.
In other words, communication can be a tricky thing. You think you’re saying one thing, but your audience hears or reads another. You have to understand that not everyone takes the importance of communication the same. Speaking to a 20-year-old is not necessarily the same as talking (loudly) to your grandma.
No one business can get it all right all the time. Instead, remain open-minded and maybe add a Millennial or two to your marketing team, especially if it’s almost completely overrun with Boomers. And if your target market is wide-ranging, make sure those young’uns have an old-timer in the room to “keep it real.”
Just Fix It
Accept the importance of communication to you and to your company. Make sure your message is not only heard, but understood. If your words have to be explained, if a sentence has to be read twice or if your daughter and your mother both raise their eyebrows at your attempt at humor — it may be time to just rewrite it.
Instead of trying to be hip and trendy, stick to words and phrases that everyone understands and appreciates. And then you’ll be sure to get your message across. When you say “fix,” for example, your readers won’t write you off as an addled drug addict, but know that you’re only trying to make things right.
English can be a difficult language, full of nuance, connotation and innuendo. If you need help finding the right voice from a team who make the importance of communication a daily priority, contact Ray Access. We can do that difficult rewrite (for half price, too) and ensure that your message is clear on the first pass — to whomever it may concern.