Communicating effectively is very important for success in life and business, I’m sure you will agree!
Ive decided to share my learning from the mistakes of a large corporate company as I travelled the world
I had an interesting and very frustrating experience while abroad recently!
I was excited about going home and pleased when the airline announced that we could go to the departure gate, but 7 hours later and 25,000 miles from home, I felt shocked at the lack of communication and lack of care that the organisation showed us. I was still at the airport and it appeared that the airline staff didn’t know where the plane was, or how we were getting home and I had completely lost my confidence in the organisation. They weren’t communicating effectively! And those of you that know me, know that I rarely get frustrated or shocked!!
And because I run a business myself, and also want to be communicating effectively to my customers and clients, it made me stop and think about how I could improve my communication and my business success.How I could avoid people getting frustrated with me and how I was perceived.
Here are the 3 things that I will now pay even more attention to:
- Communicating effectively to clients, colleagues, and potential customers about the things that are important to them. Implicit in this is to find out what is important to customers and keep their values in mind when communicating effectively with them. Mind reading can be dangerous and doesn’t take account of others model of the world. Also it can cause frustration for the other person. Remember that “the meaning of communication is the result that you get”! There were 300 plus travellers on this flight and the majority of them had been affected adversely and felt frustrated and helpless.
- Keeping promises and, if unable to do so, let people know why, and what you will do to make things better. This needs careful planning because we also need to keep promises to ourselves, while delivering great service. When you are totally committed to being there for people, its also easy to overstretch yourself! Its also easy to forget what you have promised, especially if you are a big organisation and dealing with individuals. (This airline states “we always do our best to make you feel special – from the ……….. to the renowned personal service that sets us apart from other airlines.”)
- Say sorry if things don’t go as planned. Say sorry straight away and mean it. As long as you are doing your best and have the other person’s welfare at heart, that’s ok. And if you aren’t telling the truth as you know it, people will know. After 7 hours of being told that they didnt know what was happening, I don’t think they were telling the truth at the check – in desk.
The airline’s manager appeared 6 hours into the confusion, during which time, many people were trying to get information and find out how they were going to get connections for their onwards flight. The departure gate staff said they were unaware of what was going on or where the plane was (actually I found that a bit scary). My daughter in the UK googled the flight, told me where the plane was and our estimated time of departure, she also told me that the plane woud be re routed – not communicated either. It turned out (had been on the news) that the plane had overshot the runway and had to land elsewhere, leaving the cabin crew out of flying hours. They had then sent a new crew to fetch the plane which took some time. They were then out of their flying hours meaning that the plane had to pick up new crew on the way. And no-one know anything about any of this?? Of course, if they had told the passengers what they needed to know, kept their promise as an organisation and said sorry and meant it, people would have understood and stayed calm.
A lesson perhaps for the manager?
Lessons for our businesses and our communication with anyone?
So, how are you communcating with your customers, your partners, your family and friends? Do you know how to communicate with them? Are you keeping your promises? Do you say sorry when things go wrong? Can you do better than this airline?
Please share your experiences so that we can all reflect and get better at this important skill!
Let me know what you think and remember that you can always access a free consultation with me if you’d like to improve your communication.
Till next time