Communication is easy right? We all do it, pretty much all day every day. We talk to our loved ones, we message our friends, we send numerous emails and take calls throughout the day at work.

But how effective are these interactions? Are you picking up the right information? And are you missing anything important from them?

This is something I’ve been thinking about, and working on developing for the whole time I’ve run blueumbrella. As we’re a virtual company, with our team all working remotely and with clients from all over the UK and Europe, communicating clearly and effectively is one of the most important aspects of my business.

Our clients often have a very short time to brief us on a project or, as many are entrepreneurs, they have a million things going around their heads at one time! Extracting the right information at the right time is imperative for continued success. We’d all love to be able to chat leisurely over a coffee and set our plans for the next weeks and months, unfortunately life, and business isn’t like that!

The two main areas where we’ve worked hardest with our communication methods here at blueumbrella are how to actively listen and the art of asking the right questions, at the right time.

We all know the saying, ‘the best communicators are the best listeners’, and I wholeheartedly agree. But how to you learn to listen effectively? We find the following tends to help us:

  • Ask the right questions – this comes with experience – see below
  • Wait for the answer, don’t assume anything and ‘jump in’ with an answer
  • Continue to actively listen to your clients

Secondly, how do you ask the ‘right’ questions. The wrong question is almost guaranteed to generate the wrong answer. The right question asked at the wrong time can also be equally useless.
Asking effective questions can be quite a tricky skill to master so we’ve put our heads together to come up with a few tips which might be helpful:

  • Effective questions are open-ended and not leading questions
  • Sometimes asking ‘why’, can make people defensive, try to use ‘what’ or ‘how’
  • Try not to make assumptions

Communication seems to be easy, but it is actually complex and something that needs constant work. Here at blueumbrella we constantly strive to be the best and provide the services you need, not what we think you want and we so this by actively listening to you and asking the right questions, at the right time.