Take the time

Dec 14, 2020

Practice becoming a better communicator, and you’ll build better rapport and credibility with clients, colleagues, and just about everyone else.

In today’s world we can access real time updates from the opposite side of the globe in a matter of seconds, and I’m barely even impressed by it anymore. Most of us don’t realize how difficult it was 25 years ago to dig up information on topics like global politics, technological advancements, business partnerships, historical discoveries, favorite recipes, or cats wearing pajamas.

The continued improvement of our communications infrastructure has put us in a very unique position of power ... and weakness. We have a virtually immeasurable amount of combined knowledge, but we also too often rely on the easiest avenue to bring us that knowledge. We’re conditioning ourselves to work around a critical process in communication when we start to measure success by the amount of time we spent on the task.

Sometimes, time is the exact thing we need to apply more of when it comes to providing a unique experience for a client or a memorable communication effort for an employee. The list of things you can do to improve communication is endless, but here are some that I have been trying to practice a lot of lately:

  • Listening. Go into any type of communication being ready to listen to everyone involved. Nonverbal actions like good eye contact, motions for understanding, and removing distractions like your cell phone or computer from view all help build the foundation for a good experience.
  • Confidence. A lot of people misunderstand what it means to be a confident person. Confidence should come from knowing you can handle any outcome to the situation no matter if it’s negative or positive. It’s also one of those contagious mind-sets that can be great for group discussions.
  • Empathy. When you can develop a good sense of empathy it allows you to address someone else’s mood and to offer the appropriate support and understanding. This can be helpful in more ways than just knowing how to cheer someone up. It can help you spotlight and resolve issues with clients and employees or even identify worthy opportunities for charitable support that fit in with the culture of the firm.
  • Virtual presence. We are nine nauseating months into the COVID-19 pandemic and an opinion article published in The New York Times predicted that someone in a similar situation to myself is standing in line behind 268 million people to receive the vaccine. It might be another year before we can safely open our offices to employees and those others that we want to invite into our environments. Being comfortable with all common forms of video conferencing is a must along with being comfortable with the camera turned on. Investing $50 for a basic camera light and microphone can make a world of difference in the overall quality of an important conversation. Sharing and collaborating on documents in real time is also becoming quite common and has improved efficiencies on many levels.
  • Grace. Grace in business can be a foreign concept to some but when it comes to managing people in business there is a simple philosophy I follow. Hire someone for their character, give them space to succeed, show appreciation, and let them control their career without by-the-book oversight. Showing grace in business will motivate individuals to put forth their best effort.

Whatever you plan on focusing on improving, just remember that not a day goes by that most of us aren’t participating in some form of communication with others. Opportunities to improve are around every corner and in every conversation. Check out Zweig Groups virtual learning opportunities to join us for a range of topics that all involve effective communication practices. When we become better communicators, we instantly build better rapport and credibility with clients, colleagues, and just about everyone under the sun.

Chad Coldiron is director of executive search at Zweig Group. Contact him at ccoldiron@zweiggroup.com.

Click here to read this week's issue of The Zweig Letter.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.