What was the cause
Having my best intentions I comment here the last huge, yet simply solvable problem, I crossed. Had an idea to write it down long time ago, but you know – summer is for other activities…
Anyhow, the story went something like this. We were introduced to a very smart guy operating in startup world. Very intelligent CEO, very awesome service. I was in love with him and product immediately. Obviously they were to raise funds as they’ve burned up previous funds. Process wasn’t too smooth at all to my surprise. And these surprises just kept up coming. Although I had no reasons to believe they could afford all what was happening. I’ll share few details, so you would be on the same page with me and my surprise.
- They had no business model set yet, but service is 90% ready and there are few big clients cause they deliver growth with 2 digits.
- They didn’t ask investments from previous investors for some reason.
- Infact 1 common investor believed they don’t survive as he hadn’t heard of them in 1,5 years anything.
- They had runway for 2 months and CEO went for a vacation – totally ok, would it been other timing.
- They had no time to respond to our questions over months, so we were forced to reach out to other employees.
- They didn’t bother communicate to us that there was a conflict of principles whether to use brokers or connect directly investors.
- They were working with investor relations directly in parallel, which is totally ok. Yet we were blinded about it.
It could’ve been much better relationship from the start, as we are in fond of people working there. The valuation of the company would have been higher if the communication would have been set from the day 10, I’d say. And as it is nothing too difficult to set up, so I am personally interested if I can change that, to grow the value of company among its stakeholders just by doing better communication. As it is so simple and clear – why don’t we do it then? That’s the reason for my blog post.
Why we communicate
- Because it is probably the easiest way to get your ideas to others’ heads. And if they have act – something rather good may happen. And if they don’t know – quess you know, that nothing will happen, not in your favour most certainly.
- Communication is also kind of expected from the party interested in getting done something, such as getting funds raised, getting contracts signed, getting employed, etc. The common practice is – the who wants something, the who acts to get it. And communication is in this context the very thing that the who needs to do in order to get. And this is pretty much the basis of cognitive behaviour.
Who wants to know, who needs to know
Maybe there are other parties you need to consider while asking yourself and people related to your context. Be curious, try to define whom to ask if they’d like to know or need to know. Ask yourself, what good would it do if they knew? Is it relevant everyone to know? What is your expectation they’d do if they knew? Nothing? Then try again! If they would think or act differently than previously, then – yes, bingo! If it’s a life threatening for some – definitely. If it’s gonna save someone’s money or time – yes. If they need to change their current way of thinking or behaviours – very likely. Guess you already got it.
Spamming is not communication!
Identify parties who would may want to decide if they knew there was a choice. Avoid spamming anyone because you just happen to own their email address. GDPR regulates fairly in which cases you can and cannot address them whether you have their contacts or not.
Why are we ignoring
Because we are generally selfish, dumb and ignorant. And I mean it in a good way. It’s natural that we don’t care about others, we care about ourselves. But, we should always question whether our actions and decisions have greater impact that just having a thought in our own head. If yes, it is probably wise to avoid something hitting the vent…
So why do we ignore?
- I’m not the right personality, I dislike that.
Hell with you! It’s not about you or your personality or your likes. Open your eyes, see, do! If you donät feel like it yourself – delegate to people who know stuff and get it done.
- We have not employed anyone with that skill.
Yeah, right and that is your excuse? There are plenty of people who know the importance and drill. Give them a task. Hire them short or long term, save yourself and your partners. Or learn that skill yourself, it ain’t so difficult afterall.
- We don’t know what they expect.
Really? And you have no ideas how to …ask them? Basics in any good relationships rely on mutual communication both ways. And in this case it’s just a question of technicalities. There are thousands if not millions of tools out there that could help you. Start asking and listening, then work out the processes. And I’d suggest 1 simple tool called React & Share. But there are others, more basic, questionnaires, feedback forms, etc.
As an investor or someone interested in following how the prospect or possible client or supplier or partner is doing in the turbulence of business waves – communication is the tool that brings you to safe shores.
To communicate or not? The choice is yours anyhow, and the consequences following your decision. Your conscious decision could be also ignoring the need of other parties to be informed. Also you then consciously take responsibility for all that happens because of not communicating about details others should have been warned of, known of or informed about that would have allowed them to act according to changed circumstances. Consciously not communicating – you are the one to take the whole blame.
Other way of looking at is – that you are just so young or/and dumb to communicate about stuff other need to be informed about. Small f…kups are probably excused due to your youth or considering you being inexperienced. In long-run this is called properly – stupidity.
In short, failing in communication is most probably failing in achieving any bigger goals, as people need to know to adapt their goals and actions. Aligned movements have greater success. And you find multiple cases of bad and good examples from recent Covid19 disaster where some countries succeeded well (Estonia among them), when other did not at all.
I personally was lucky enough to be part of Estonian crisis communication team actions helping to implement React & Share services to learn from readers what they were looking for and preparing right content for them after-words.
So, learn from others’ mistakes and don’t hesitate once the question was arisen – to communicate or not. Do communicate!
Simple steps to Nirvana
- Transform the change into the clear message – identify what will or has changed.
- Less is more – be focused, clear.
- Use positive way of saying it.
- Use sentences that can be defined only in 1 way.
- Identify parties who most likely would need to know and parties who in some cases would want to know.
- Identify who needs to know.
Because they need to make a changes in their lives or work because of you.
Because you want them to be engaged and “pull trains” for you.
- Identify who wants to know.
Because they are social activists and ignoring them would cause you lots of troubles.
Because you did lots of good for them and they would want to know how to enjoy that.
- Identify who you cannot left uninformed.
Because they would hold you back in future.
Because there is a law that says so.
- Identify who needs to know.
- Define these interested groups in terms of:
- personality types – using right wordings and pictograms,
- ability to digest professional or simplified language usage,
- what kind of formats they consume the best – emails, ads, social media, articles, campaigns, events.
- Fine-tune message according to any group of interest and format.
- Set up the technical structure to maintain contacts and details.
- Develop and test content blocks – dedicated messages for each group.
- Deliver and measure results to improve your requirements for next time.
Now, this all might seem a bit scary, sure. Once you understand how big role communication has in your company’s success or failure – you already make better decisions. But I’d suggest you start small and grow along the way. Practice makes perfect. And don’t hesitate to hire professional help if you don’t feel safe enough. It’s always easier to comment than to create it yourself. No-one knows your business better than you, so give experts your help and insight getting your message right when they get it delivered to right parties on-time.