Improving Communication in the New Year

communication-importance‘Tis the season for 2014 wrap-up and 2015 goal-setting articles!  I’m so sorry, but the end-of-the-year/start-of-a-new-year begs reflection and planning.  Here are just a couple of ways in which we can improve communication skills in the New Year – perhaps you’ll add just one of them to your to-do list:

IMPROVE YOUR PRESENTATION SKILLS:  How many presentations have you seen that appear to be completely off-the-cuff, yet are organized and succinct?  THAT is the mark of someone who has practiced their “impromptu” banter.  Whether you are seeing a comedian, a musician talking between songs in a concert, a preacher or minister or a corporate speaker, if they are not rambling all over the place you can be sure that they have organized and rehearsed ad nauseam to sound that natural and un-rehearsed.  There are a ton of great free webinars on the subject, there are lots of books around or you can study Ted Talks to pick up some new pointers.

REVIEW YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION:  Have you tried googling (yes, it’s a verb now!) yourself?  Harris Interactive finds that 48% of people who google themselves find negative or incorrect information; 30% don’t find anything at all.  Reputation management fills the gap between how you or your company want to be perceived and how others actually view you. How to manage all of this while you’re trying to work in your business? We can help!

COMMIT TO MAXIMIZING A SINGLE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM:  If you are not yet participating in social media and you are overwhelmed just thinking about it, don’t despair.  You don’t have to do it all at once.  Choose a place to start.  If you are in the B2B world, skip the rest and go straight to LinkedIn.  There are lots of ways to maximize your profile; once that’s in place, get good at using this as a tool.   If you are in the B2C world and have great photos of products or food/beverages to share, Instagram or Pinterest may be the place for you.  Explore options, pick one and get good at it before moving on.

REINFORCE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND:  You have one, whether you realize it or not.  Take stock of every touch point you have with others.  How consistent are you?  Do others who don’t know you well know what to expect from you?  What do others say about you?  All of these things contribute to your personal brand.

UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE:  A New Year is a great time to refresh images, make content changes, make sure all the links are working and the site is functioning properly.  WordPress and other content management systems update all the time, so make sure you’re on top of those, and that your template or theme is current.  Many people are tempted to tell everything they know on their website:  your website should contain enough information to pique interest and generate contact.  Review your content to make sure you’re sharing information intentionally.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things.  Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”  Sydney J. Harris

While you’re planning specific improvements for your business for the New Year, remember that the best ideas are only ideas if they aren’t communicated effectively.  Wishing you a wonderful end to 2014 and a prosperous and happy New Year!