Communication is one of the fields often completely disregarded by entrepreneurs and business managers. For once we consider it as something we do every day without even noticing it, thus we don't need to learn it, on the other hand - we acknowledge some people are better public speakers grabbing attention of the audience, but put down these skills to natural talents which can't be learned.
The truth is that communication being a set of specific tools and techniques can be learned and practised effectively to achieve specific goals of any business activity. During this course we'll try explaining how we can support creation, management and marketing activities of a business cluster with specific communication tools and show what deliverables can be expected.
Communication is playing a major role through the whole life span of the business cluster starting from the very first meeting of cluster members, ending with the activities related to reinventing the cluster once all major cluster goals are achieved and the cluster is standing at the threshold of falling apart. Like every other organization business cluster undergo several different periods in its lifetime, during which communicators attention needs to be concentrated to different audiences, different goals are to be achieved and different techniques employed. We strongly believe that you'll find answers to a number of questions nagging you in different business situations or even help you avoiding them completely by setting all your activities right from the very beginning.
Myths about communication
- Time heals all wounds. The truth is actually the opposite. Without taking any effort time deepens the wounds. The conflict or misunderstanding we were not able to resolve in the past will not resolve by itself. What to do? Do not fool yourself by thinking that your partners are not bringing some issue because they because the issue is gone. There is high risk that some old unresolved issues will pop up when you least expect it, thus the only way to find a solution is to proactively bring it up.
- Don't rock the boat. We often believe that by rocking the boat we risk to sink it. It is true in some cases by persistently bringing some issues up we risk breaking the relationship with our partners, though similarly with all unresolved issues the boat which is not rocked at all will sink over time by itself. The only way out of the situation is to find a solution by concentrating on mutual gains and negotiating terms until win-win situation is reached. If there's no mutually acceptable solution there - the partnership will eventually break.
- Assume the things are understood equally well by all parties. Drawing assumptions is a complete underestimation of the reality. The truth is that the chances that all partners in your cluster see things exactly same way is close to zero, thus the only way coming to some joint conclusion is discussing every topic and reflecting on each specific field. People are different and so are their objectives!
- Things are carved in rock. While we desire things once agreed will not change over time, the truth is they change all the time. Business environment is changing constantly, so do the perceptions of your cluster members. They entered your cluster once as a startup represented by a handful of founders driven by high motivation to win their place under the sun, but few yeas ago you may be surprised to see the startup grown to a mature business with a multi-million turnover aggressively looking for new startups as a takeover targets. Have no doubt they see their place in the cluster in a completely different way now!
- More communication leads to resolution. I am sure you've spent many hours in boring, endless meetings listening to blunt speeches by your CEO trying to persuade you things are just a bout to change. The only thing you've probably been dreaming about was hope it'll end soon. Increased communication often help people spread misinformation with blazing speed, sometimes leading to devastating results. Just increasing the amount of communication does not let people know how to use it effectively thus you should be constantly reflecting on every word you say and checking how it was perceived by the other party. Remember: communication is just as much about listening and understanding as about speaking!