preventing conflict through communication

Right now isn’t the first time our society has faced a health crisis around disease like COVID-19, but this is the first time in human history, our world has the technology and tools available on a global scale to stay connected; even in isolation.

Calling, texting, Facetime, Hangouts, email, social media platforms … Dozens of streaming services, endless loops of news updates, digital books on demand from our favorite authors, sharing music playlists, Zoom meetings. (So many Zoom meetings…)

That is a lot of technology!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many options of HOW to communicate, that we could miss WHAT we are communicating. Or even worse, shut down and NOT communicate at all.

Some may be afraid to reach out to clients and prospective clients because they aren’t sure what to say, given the almost daily changes that we’ve gone through over the last several months. – This is the worst thing you can do: proactive communication is an absolute necessity for your business.

Getting Started…

As far as the HOW to communicate: pick a method that you are most confident using. For most people, that includes calling, email, social media, and scheduling Zoom conference calls.

Now, the big question…WHAT are you communicating?

If you are not sure how to get your communication flow started, or in some cases, restarted, here are three crucial tenants to build a strategy now:

1.Build trust. Now is the time to build trust with your audience by providing content that speaks to challenges they face, shows empathy for their current situation and demonstrates you are business ready and adapting. Your audience includes your clients, contacts, network: anyone in your sphere of influence.

What should you include in an email?

  • An update about how your company is doing
  • New services or products?
  • Is there an advantage that your product/service could offer during this time?
  • A particular expertise you could share that would be helpful right now?
  • Can you provide some expertise or insight on a current hurdle?

You get the idea. Trust is also the best way to avoid and prevent conflict situations from arising. Things may have changed in your company or service offerings, and communicating that to your clients will build trust, enhance retention, and may even open up new opportunities.

2. Deepen existing relationships. Right now is a great time to focus on providing your existing clients with valuable content that is relevant and meaningful. Make some phone calls to current clients and spend time engaging with your community on social media, create content for your website, and share links in which they can relate. The more present you are, the more assured your clients will feel. –  * Pro-tip: Take the emails you have sent out from Step One above and post them on your website. Then take that link to your website and post on your social media. Repurposing your content saves time and creates consistency.

3. Take short-term actions that reflect our new reality. Clients or prospective clients might be afraid of making long-term commitments to a brand, product, service, or subscription or retainer, so think about what you can do to help your customers in the short-term. A free content offer is a great way to assist prospects with paused budgets. Depending on your service, think about a how-to video series, an ebook, a free product, free trial, etc. Whatever makes sense in your business model. –  Once you have established your immediate actions or value-additions, go back to Step One on this list and make sure everyone on your sphere of influence knows about it! After that, go to Step Two and post it on your social media. Have conversations. Get feedback.

You see how the steps above all feed into each other. The hardest part is getting started. Once you do get started, you are positioning yourself to be consistent with your flow of communication. It’s especially critical right now, but this a business practice that will serve you well after we get through this year.

Consistency in communication is our greatest champion to avoid conflict, create assurance, build trust, and keep pushing your business, practice, or consultancy forward.

Laura Dawn Ouin is the founder of Third Coast Mediation & Communication in Dallas, Texas, and is passionate about conflict resolution in all forms. Equipped with over 20 years of experience in business development, conflict resolution and communication development, she facilitates solutions through strategic mediations as well as developing written communication for web, press releases, and media distribution. When it is critical that your audience needs to understand your message, Laura Dawn helps you be heard.