Everyone knows the three most important rules for success in
real estate are “location, location, location!” In the kitchen and
bath industry, the three most important rules for success are
“communication, communication, communication!”
For communication to have impact or to be successful, there must
be a complete cycle. The sender transmits the information to the
receiver. The receiver then confirms acceptance and comprehension
of the message.
Businesses have lots of messages being sent, but not all of the
information is received and not all of the information is
understood. Unless there is a complete communication cycle, there
is no dialogue and dialogue ensures that we are interacting with
others to reach a shared meaning. When you communicate in a
positive and respectful manner and environment, the highest level
of dialogue can be reached.
Listening is the most important tool available to ensure that
you are communicating completely to reach the shared meaning
through dialogue. This shared meaning is the essence of
communication and must be achieved if you are to be a successful
You need to ask yourself how effective your company is at
communicating with employees. Which of the following does your
company use on a regular basis: Written memos to employees, written
memos posted on the employee bulletin board, post-it notes with
quick messages, messages in pay envelopes, voice mail, e-mail,
company newsletters, employee handbooks, job descriptions,
performance evaluations, weekly staff meetings, policy and
procedures manuals, individual employee meetings. If you don’t use
most of these items, you should seriously consider defining or
refining your company’s communication strategy. It’s the
combination of all of these, and more, that facilitates better
Your successful communication strategy should include vehicles
such as these that have clearly defined systems to deliver the
messages, which allows for clarification and verification while
confirming receipt of the message by all of the employees.
So, what can you do to ensure that you have a message not only
sent and received, but also understood? Ask simple questions like
“Did you understand?” “What did you hear me say?” “What is your
understanding of what we just discussed?” This can be done verbally
or in writing, but it needs to be done.
When an organization
uniformly employs positive, constructive communication, it sends a
consistent message. The firm is indicating that all communication
within the company is based on respect for the individual and an
honest appreciation of everyone’s value and contribution to the
efforts of the company.
Your communication strategy should support, encourage and
reinforce the mission and culture of your kitchen and bath firm.
Following are some simple steps every member of every organization
can do to ensure positive, healthy communication interactions:
- Help others to be right.
- Whenever possible have fun.
- Behave with enthusiasm.
- Figure out ways for new ideas to work.
- Act with initiative.
- Be bold and courageous take a chance.
- Help others be successful.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Don’t believe or repeat gossip.
- Speak positively about others.
- If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say
It really is very simple for you to begin demonstrating these
basic principles at your place of business. Here are a few more
1. Only verbally acknowledge actions and behaviors that are
positive and productive.
2. When speaking to individuals, give brief, clear statements to
capture their attention. Try not to engage in a conversation unless
you really have something important to say.
3. Whenever possible, ask open-ended questions that allow your
communication partner to talk to you. Then, once you have asked the
question listen, listen, listen!
4. When someone mentions an idea that may sound a bit odd, ask
“Oh, how would that actually work?” rather than “Oh, we tried that
years ago and it didn’t work.”
5. When you become engaged in conversation with another person,
allow them to complete the full thought before responding.
6. Whenever possible, rephrase what you just heard to ensure
that you are really communicating.
7. Allow yourself to recognize the importance of the topic or
information to the speaker. Demonstrate to the person that you
value and respect their contribution.
There are numerous
communication ideas that may help you create a stronger and more
vibrant company. But, it’s imperative that the ideas you utilize be
reflective of you and your style. Following are a few options:
- Management by Walking Around. This is especially effective for
kitchen and bath managers who are actively engaged in the
day-to-day activities of the business. Walk around and look for
opportunities to make positive comments and/or receive input and
- Brainstorming Sessions. This employs the idea of getting your
employees together to talk about challenging opportunities or
problems. When people see that their ideas aren’t critiqued or
ridiculed, they’ll put forth even more good thought.
- Suggestion Box. Don’t laugh. It can work if done properly.
Bring every suggestion from the box to the staff. Discuss them
- Meetings. Remember, a meeting without an agenda and a good
facilitator can be deadly. It’s absolutely critical for everyone to
know and understand why they are attending a meeting, what will be
discussed and what the outcome is intended to be.
In summary, make quality and consistent communication a given
responsibility for all members of your team, and don’t forget to
thank people for a job well done and for efforts expended.