By Rieva Lesonsky
Check out this actual email from a manager to a new employee: “This info is relevant for your universe penetration projections (3 yr. proformas) so we can help establish new acct. attainment goals, proformas and any necessary recourses.” If you’re thinking “huh?” then you know what’s wrong. If your reaction is, “There’s nothing wrong with this statement,” then you might be experiencing a disconnect with your employees. Sometimes, in the business world, you get so used to hearing certain terms you think everyone understands what you’re saying. (Ever have to go look up the jargon a small business loan officer spews after your meeting?)
If you’ve ever been accused of using too much business speak or industry jargon, it may be time to take it down a notch, especially when talking to new employees. Here’s how to improve your company’s communication:
1. Think about when the employee started and what background the person came from. You may be hiring a recent college graduate who was taught a different set of business phrases and words than you were.
2. Without being condescending, explain key industry terms so employees can catch up to what you’re talking about.
3. Add a glossary of common industry terms in your employee handbook so employees know what to expect and what’s expected of them.
4. Ask for feedback even if no one appears to have any questions. Employees may be afraid to ask you to explain something, so make sure you show them there are no stupid questions.
5. A recent Gallup survey showed top companies inspire employees with consistent and regular communication, both company-wide and individually, about the organization’s future. You want to make sure everyone understands and shares your vision.
6. Assign one staff member to be the workplace communications leader and empower that person to start a company newsletter.
7. The worst way for staff to find out about a new client or new project is through the grapevine. Make sure you update employees daily about any new priorities and encourage questions.
8. You don’t have to have a formal meeting whenever you want to speak to employees. Walk around to spread the news yourself or send a quick email making an announcement.
Being a good leader means being able to communicate well with your staff and the best way to start is to make sure you’re all speaking the same language.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.