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If a $40,000-a-year employee spends just two hours a day reading, writing and managing e-mail, that’s a $9,000 annual cost. Judging from what people tell me about their work habits, two hours a day is a conservative estimate. And what about those at much higher salary levels who spend much longer writing every day? Do arithmetic.
Presentations People at all levels present information in a variety of settings in workplace every day. These presentations not only consume many hours in creation and preparation, but also expensive time of those who must listen to them. Unfortunately, poor presentation skills often result in a futile exercise that communicates less than a simple written report. How many useless presentations take place in a major corporation every day? Do arithmetic.
Loss of business
Sometimes salespeople know their "pitch" so well that they totally ignore any input a prospective customer might give them. They barely shake hands and sit down before they start talking. They blithely prescribe their product or service as cure for a problem, without even finding out if such a problem even exists.
But an effective sales process is, in fact, a conversation, a two-way exercise in applied communication. Done poorly, it can result in lost sales and missed opportunity for ongoing business relationships.
Customer loss doesn’t happen only in sales process, but can also be spurred by an inept "customer service" exchange. When someone calls to complain, client relationship is at a fragile point. It can be repaired through right message well delivered, or broken beyond repair by poor communication. When we consider total lifetime value of a customer relationship, we can truly appreciate real dollar cost of poor communication.
Loss of people
Whatever people tell their bosses about their reasons for leaving company, exit interviews often tell a different story. One of most common reasons cited is that they don’t feel anyone listened to them.
Day after day in workplace, millions of people go through motions of talking with each other in person and on phone, constantly connected through technology, and never truly communicating with one another. Study after study tells us that recognition and respect are more motivating than money, and one of best ways to show people they are valued is to listen to them. Sadly, listening is probably most underused of all communication skills.
So people leave. How much then does it cost to replace them? Studies give a wide range, from a low of 25% of salary, plus benefits, to a whopping 150%. Employee replacement represents yet another huge cost that can at least sometimes be charged to poor communication.
By improving way people (and I mean people at all levels) interact in order to get things done, we can increase productivity—with its attendant positive impact on bottom line.
Helen Wilkie is a professional keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and author whose latest book is "The Hidden Profit Center—a tale of profits lost and found through communication." For more articles and other information, visit http://www.mhwcom.com. While you're there, sign up for Communi-keys and receive monthly communication techniques directly from Helen.