Chances are a lot has changed for you and your business over the past few months. One of these things should definitely be the way that you communicate. Spoiler alert: Regardless of whether you are talking to your employees, your clients, or yourself in the mirror before work, you should be overcommunicating and setting realistic expectations.
How You Communicate with Staff
It is critical that you communicate with your employees even more regularly than you typically would. This is particularly true if all or part of your staff is working remotely. You will not be able to just walk over to someone to check on the progress of a project or to ensure that things are going smoothly. To help keep schedules on track and quality on target, you should be touching base on things like Zoom or Slack throughout the day.
Besides just keeping your business on track, it is important that you are communicating with your staff so that they are able to stay informed. Best practices and guidelines from the WHO and your local government change rapidly, and your first priority is that your staff stays safe and healthy (and that you follow regulation). Beyond that, this will also provide your employees with a sense of security and trust in leadership.
How You Communicate with Clients and Customers
Most individuals understand that things are not going to be “business as usual” for the time being. That being said, it is in the best interest of your company that you also regularly communicate with your clientele to help manage their expectations and alleviate any concerns that they have. Generally speaking, they are going to be interested in how project costs and timelines may be impacted, and need some reassurance that your company’s level of quality will remain the same. If you expect something to change, communicate the reasons why and what they can expect the differences to be.
It might be a good idea to build a section of your website (or at least create a one-pager that can be emailed around) with some FAQs. Alternatively, you can set up a dedicated phone number or email address that clients can direct their questions toward. Again, it is about maintaining the relationship and building trust.
How You Communicate with Yourself
When I say “communicate with yourself,” what I’m really talking about is self-care. This is an incredibly stressful time – especially for business owners. There are probably a lot of unknowns or “what ifs” running through your mind. You will not be doing yourself any favors to stress about things. Remind yourself that you are only in control of so much and that you are doing the best that you can. Be kind to yourself and trust that you have the experience and resources to see you and your company through to the other side.