Effective communication

The impressions of most South Africans visiting an international exhibition, whether it is in Germany, Japan or the USA, is one of amazement at the size of the exhibition, the technology on display and the professionalism that they experience. With every exhibitor keen to stay ahead of the competition an exhibition presents an ideal opportunity for the company to present ‘what’s new’ to a broader audience, and the information overload can become daunting. Despite this, reactions include “Why did I not think of that before?” and “Wow! I wish I could afford to incorporate ‘that’ into my production environment”.

For those of us that have been attending these exhibitions for some time we have seen enormous strides in new equipment offerings and technology developments. The design of the machines has changed radically, and the automation and tools that are driving them now were hard to imagine 20 years ago. However, today virtually anything is possible with the electronic and ‘smart’ era that we are currently experiencing.

“The control systems used to run machines are morphing into units that imitate our mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices, both in appearance and functionality. Wi-Fi capability will be the norm. That seemingly shapeless concept of computing and storing data in the cloud is shaping up to be a realm of unlimited capacity and power,” is how one scribe describes it.

With all this technology available to us today it is still the ‘basics’ that keep us going, and it amazes me how we do not pay attention these. On one trip recently a number of us South Africans were ‘networking’ on the afternoon before the exhibition began. The outcome was that three different company representatives travelled to Germany to find out that their companies supplied each other in one way or another. They did not know this until they met up in Germany.

There could be a number of reasons for this but it still highlighted that communication, whether in the written or verbal form, is a dialogue for us to stay informed. Sharing information with others and allowing the “free-flow of meaning between people” is necessary to communicate effectively throughout your organisation, no matter how big or small. It allows you to improve current practices, develop better products, install new business growth strategies, and address employee performance issues and more. It can be argued that effective communication is critical to every company’s success.

When an organisation fails to communicate effectively, everyone loses. Good ideas don’t get heard, and opportunities are missed. Problems are discovered too late to take corrective action. Needed changes do not receive the necessary support and are not adopted. Perhaps most important of all, the best possible decisions are not always made.

Effective communication is critical among owners, managers and all employees in order for a company to truly be successful.