Almost all of us could benefit from having a few extra hours in our working week to get through all the things we need to do. Working at full capacity, as most of us already are, means this is unlikely to happen. But what if we could free up time we were already spending in such a way that it didn’t cause other aspects of our business day to suffer?
Andy Bounds, renowned communications expert and former UK Sales Trainer of the Year, says the answer lies in communicating less. That’s right. Less. According to Bounds, we spend far too much time in inefficient and/or pointless communications and, if we can reduce those, we can put the time towards doing stuff that actually matters.
In a recent blog, Bounds suggests thinking of all the communications opportunities we give or get in any one week. Consider each one. Then, he says, ask yourself what would happen if you:
- Remove it– This is a really good way to test effectiveness. Remove any communication that, when you stop it, will do no harm whatsoever. The results may surprise you.
- Reduce it– Some communications would suffer very little from being changed from a weekly update to once a fortnight. There’s a time saving right there.
- Shorten it– Always schedule your meetings for an hour? Why not make them 40 minutes, tops? Visual presentations can no doubt take a cut, too. Bounds suggests most documents or PowerPoint presentations can quite easily be cut by a third, without damage to their central message. (And it’s virtually guaranteed your audience will be delighted.)
- Change it– If you have regular conference calls where only one person speaks, change the process to sending a group email instead.
- Skip it– Is your attendance at a meeting really crucial? If you can’t add anything/don’t want to/it’s not a priority, suggest to the owner that you don’t attend.
- Ban it– Make an email rule that stops people hitting ‘Reply All’ (not everyone cares), ‘FYI’ (hardly anyone cares) or giving lengthy background info (nobody cares).
How’s your own schedule looking for the week ahead? Which would be the best communications to change? Bounds advises it’s best to choose wisely by identifying those that:
- Will save you lots of time; and
- Won’t cause you a replacement, time-consuming problem when you change it.
Bounds maintains that the point about communications of any kind – and it’s a point almost all of us are guilty of consistently missing – is that our aim isn’t to say something, it’s to cause something.
We can get hours of time returned to us to use much more effectively if only we’d grasp the nettle and take positive steps to change or stop communications that cause nothing. One might even go so far as to say that, by doing so, our productivity will almost certainly go ahead in leaps – and Bounds.
For help with your written B2B communications, give Rosemary Gillespie a call on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.