Talk Your Way to Success

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If you want your business to succeed—and we’re guessing you do—then consider these tips for improving your internal communications. It’s more important than you think.

You’ve heard the expression “talk is cheap.” That’s good news for small business owners with big ambitions, because talking is an essential tool if you want to succeed. It’s nice to know there’s one strategy you can implement that won’t be a line item on your budget. But exactly what kind of talking are we, uh, talking about?

According to Janine Popick, CEO of VerticalResponse, how you handle your internal communications makes a big difference in a company’s growth and success. And don’t think that size matters. No matter how many employees you have, just a few or a cast of thousands, you need to keep every one of them informed so that they feel connected to the business and to its success.

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As your business grows and employees move from being generalists wearing many hats to specialists with just one, their focus can result in a restricted view of the big picture. That, coupled with the reality that some of your managers communicate the company’s big picture to their teams and others don’t, presents a challenge. It can create an atmosphere of misinformation floating around the office, and nothing good ever comes from that.

Here are a few simple ways to start talking with your employees and give them the information they need to play an active, committed role in their success — and yours.

Employee Forums

Schedule regular all-hands meetings that all of your employees can attend. It’s an opportunity for departments to share the projects they’re working on and to spotlight individual or team accomplishments. Make sure you give people a chance to ask questions, and don’t forget to let people inject a little fun and creativity to avoid boredom and to increase employee engagement.

News That’s Fit to Print

Create a monthly internal newsletter to give your employees high-level updates from throughout the company. Again, it’s a good time and place to call out notable employee and team achievements. It’s also a chance to ask different people to contribute content each month. A section about your different customers is a great way to keep your company’s purpose in everyone’s mind.

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Take a Field Trip

Get everyone out of the office every now and then for a company lunch or to do something fun. It shakes up the way people think and interact — and that’s a good thing.

Make Yourself Available

Yes, you’re busy. You’re the big kahuna. But you’ll be more successful if you’re a kahuna with an open-door policy. When you’re in a meeting, close the door, but otherwise, let your people know that you’re there whenever they need you. You send an important message by being approachable and transparent — you tell your employees that they’re a vital part of the company’s success.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Adapted from 4 Ways to Improve Internal Communication by Janine Popick at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.