“What we have here is failure to communicate” from the 1967 classic Cool Hand Luke is one of the most memorable film quotes of all times. In fact, the American Film Institute ranks it #11 on its top 100 movie quotes.

As a business person you know that failure to communicate is not an option. Good communication is essential to business success. Yet today, changes in where we work, when we work and the tools we use to work are posing challenges to communicate effectively with customers and colleagues.

This week, Plantronics was very pleased to host a dinner for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Silicon Valley Chapter. My speech was about the changing workplace, communications challenges and what solutions are available from Plantronics to make sure your small business succeeds amidst disruptive workplace trends.

Here are highlights from: “Good Communication: The Heart of Business Success” presentation to Silicon Valley Chapter, NAWBO, August 18.

Today’s communications challenges

Communication chaos: The proliferation of devices has created a kind of communications chaos with calls and notifications coming in across the range of platforms. (We asked attendees how many interact with at least 5 devices every day. Three quarters raised their hands.)

In response, Unified Communications (UC) emerged to consolidate communication devices – desk phones, PCs, smartphones and tablets – into one integrated data and voice network so they can talk to each other digitally. With UC, you can experience calls along other collaboration tools such as e-mail, instant messaging (IM), web and video conferencing and fax through the convenience of one interface.

But for UC to be most effective, you need to be able to simply connect to your communications devices. Let’s say you are wrapping up a desk phone call and get a text on your computer to sign onto a video conference with an important customer. You want to be able to seamlessly move from one device to another ensuring that your communication is consistently effective and audible.

Need to focus anywhere: Mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops – now make it possible to work anywhere at any time. While the ability to work where you choose is convenient, it has had the effect of blurring the lines between our personal and work life. It also means that you never know when and where “work calls.” (Nearly everyone raised their hands when we asked how many people have to take conference calls from home.)

You need to be able to focus on the moment to engage with a customer, supplier or a colleague over a call no matter where you and no matter what you may be doing at the moment. Or, in order to meet a deadline, you may need to block out distracting noises and immerse.

Ensure successful customer interactions: In today’s popular open-space office environments, there’s little escape from noise around you, which can seriously hinder communication with a customer. Working remotely – in a coffee shop, at an airport, in a hotel room – you have even less control over background noise around you. And unless you have a sound proofed home office, working at home may not provide a sound-free environment. (One business owner noted that her ability to provide personal service and dedicated attention to her clients helps differentiate her graphic design company from the big guys.)

Help for your team stay connected throughout the day

Whether your small business team members are working in the office or out, Plantronics has solutions to enable them to hear and be heard across a range of communications devices. Plantronics headsets:

• Ensure you are ready for a call by simplifying connectivity to communications devices and applications, knowing when you’re wearing a headset and routing calls according, and providing sophisticated notifications that a call is coming in.
• Help you focus by selectively blocking distracting background noise throughout the day in the office or on the go. The just announced Voyager Focus UC headset provides active noise cancellation (ANC) and dynamic Hi-Fi stereo. It works seamlessly across Bluetooth-enabled desk phones, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and smart watches.
• Bring audio clarity to each conversation and even help you capture key data relative to customer interactions and protect sensitive on-screen information.

Find out how more about how Plantronics solutions can help your small business team throughout the day.