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Applying corporate communication strategies for success at work

Karel Mc Intosh

Your chances of success in the workplace are multiplied when you’re a great communicator. By-products of effective communication include positive relationships, understanding, cooperation and acceptance. They’re also exactly what you need to achieve your goals and objectives.

Becoming an effective communicator has a lot to do with tapping into the complexities of human behaviour and thinking, using persuasion, and applying strategic thinking, which assists in preparation for and the implementation of communications that helps you and your colleagues to meet your objectives. But more than achieving objectives, you can get the bonus of pleasant, working relationships.

Strategic communication
Corporate communication is primarily concerned with fostering understanding, and cultivating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with an organisation’s stakeholders. Understanding and great relationships are enablers for growth. Successful companies communicate with stakeholders because they know that they need their buy-in so that they can operate without disruption. Regardless of your position, career, or industry, you can adopt this modus operandi to ensure your own success.

Corporate communication strategies are numerous. Some great ones that can help to foster positive relationships are research, customising communication channels for audiences, consultation, networking, and operating based on psychological intuition. Segmenting your audiences and determining their preferred communication tools are also important in ensuring that the person you’re communicating with is receptive.

From the start, learn about the roles and responsibilities of your colleagues. This goes for those starting new jobs, as well as those who are entrenched in their positions. If you understand the relationship between your colleague’s role and your role, this helps in collaboration. You can also understand their points of pressure and how and when to approach them.

Internal stakeholders
As individuals, we work in teams or we require the assistance of others to carry out our responsibilities. Think of your colleagues as your internal stakeholders. This includes everyone, from the janitor to the CEO. Each segment of this audience may require different approaches for communication. You may always be able to strike up a conversation with an assistant, but sometimes your manager or CEO may be too busy to talk face-to-face or on the phone. So you’ve got to find out what is his or her preferred mode of communication. Is it e-mail or a written note?

External stakeholders
Depending on your responsibilities, you may also have to liaise with service providers or cultivate business-to-business relationships. These two groups often comprise the majority of your external relationships. For example, an engineer will often liaise with the construction or engineering services consultant. He may also have to attend meetings with other companies in order to get their assistance in mobilising projects. The more cordial he is, and the more reliable and effective he is at providing information that is essential for these parties to perform their duties, this increases the probability that these parties will cooperate with him, and go beyond the call of duty to assist.

Develop a network internally and externally. No one achieves success alone. Make an effort to create cordial relationships with people in different departments within your company. This will go a long way in getting your colleagues’ cooperation.

To enhance your competence, join a network of professionals. People often think of a network as an opportunity to get a job or new business, but sometimes the greatest benefit you can get from your network is being able to call someone who can provide you with the answer you’re missing or who can give you morale support to boost your self-confidence.

Listen and be receptive. Whatever your position, it’s likely that you will have to consult with your boss or other colleagues at some point in time. Remember to engage in dialogue, as opposed to “talking to” or “talking down” to people. Allow them to share their ideas, and when you’re contributing to the discussion, speak with confidence, not arrogance.

Additionally, when you need to make inquiries, do so with skill. Skilful inquiry is different from interrogation. You don’t need to grill someone in order to dismantle their point of view. You also don’t want to sound judgemental. For example, instead of saying, “you really don’t think that’s the best way?”, you can say “based on the research, various approaches have been identified so let’s consider those as well”.

Remember, compromise decreases tension. Remind colleagues that despite differing views, you’re all working towards the same objective.

Be inclusive. Sometimes you are assigned projects for which you are primarily responsible. However, despite this full responsibility, the reality is that you need information or assistance from others to bring it to fruition. Even if you have already gotten the necessary information from the colleague, it would be courteous to let them know that you achieved your objective and that their help contributed.

These are just some of the strategies that you can use to improve communications and your productivity in the workplace. If you approach communication with the ultimate goal of creating positive, pleasant relationships, collaboration, efficiency and success will be your rewards.

The author is a Trinidad based public relations and communications professional. A social media and technology enthusiast, she is the author of the blog
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