Telecommunication simply involves sharing information over a distance, which has made globalisation in business possible. Networking means forging connections with other business people and clients in order to maximise your opportunities for growth. Every small business should take advantage of emerging networking opportunities that use telecommunication to share its message with a broader audience.
Telecommunication involves communication via email, which you probably already do frequently. It also involves sharing information via social-networking sites, websites and a blog. Software-sharing programs and web-conferencing programs allow for an instant exchange of ideas. Online chats are another example, and so are phone calls, including those between two parties or more than two individuals.
Determine how telecommunication will most benefit your business, rather than haphazardly testing different strategies. For example, if you believe your products would succeed in another country, use web conferencing to build a strategic alliance with a company based in that country. If you wish to save on overhead costs and don’t need your employees to work on-site, use software that lets them collaborate on projects from a distance. Consider using phone conferencing to discuss ideas as a team in real time. Also consider hiring a virtual assistant to book appointments from a remote location if you don’t have a full-time assistant.
Use telecommunications to improve communication when in-person communication is difficult or impossible. Don’t use it to eliminate all interpersonal interaction in the name of efficiency. If your employees work from home, have them meet in the office once a week to maintain a sense of team spirit. Many managers have used this strategy with great success. If you’re web-conferencing with someone who works half an hour away, an occasional lunch may benefit your relationship. Additionally, if you’re presenting in a web conference, remember that it can seem more difficult than an in-person presentation. Not seeing your audience can be daunting, and you probably won’t have any breaks for questions until the end, so practice giving your speech to a computer screen beforehand.
Employees will probably respond positively to technologies that allow them to work from home or increase their productivity. In fact, they tend to become more productive when working remotely. Evaluate your changing communication systems to ensure they function at their best. Spending money on fancy new technology does not in itself ensure strong communication. Have your information-technology staff explain how to use communication tools to all staff members, and when web conferencing, have a knowledgeable IT staff member on hand. Introduce new technologies gradually, too, so you don’t overwhelm your employees or yourself.