Why Communication Skills have Taken on Added Importance for Business Leaders

Written by: Melissa Powell

Probably the biggest change to the workplace set in motion by the pandemic is the acceptance of remote and hybrid work. While teleconferencing and working from home existed before COVID-19, hybrid work has become the norm. In fact, a 2021 report from Accenture showed that 83 percent of more than 9,000 workers surveyed said they preferred a hybrid model: one in which they can work remotely 25 percent of the time. Teams that used to meet regularly in person now rely on Zoom, Skype, Slack, and other platforms to communicate. 


So, how do business leaders maintain team camaraderie and engage employees when they are no longer brainstorming and problem-solving in the same room?


In a January 2022 Forbes post, Denise Vu Broady, chief marketing officer for the low-code provider Appian, outlined several communications strategies that, even under the current working conditions, will keep employees motivated and enthusiastic about their organization, and able to see a future at the company.


Broady maintains that because employees are not sharing the same physical space with their colleagues—thereby missing those “water cooler moments”—they are so inundated by emails and instant messages that they feel overwhelmed. But when leaders schedule regular 15-minute one-on-one meetings with workers, they can gain a better understanding of the projects their team is working on. This also provides time to discuss any underlying concerns employees might not feel comfortable sharing with their co-workers. Managers can also foster an ongoing dialogue with employees, building a culture where open communication is not simply accepted, but explicitly encouraged.


One characteristic that distinguishes great leaders from poor leaders is the ability to communicate with transparency and compassion, which allows them to lead from the top down and share knowledge and experience. According to Harvard Business Review, the three top traits of effective leaders are communication skills, high ethics, and moral standards. 


A post on Dase.com, a company that designs learning solutions for businesses, outlines some best practices for leadership communication:


  • Leaders who demonstrate transparency have clear expectations of their employees and a willingness to be open and honest with their teams, while also demonstrating humility and vulnerability.
  • Great leaders are confident yet not arrogant. This builds trust within the team and discourages gossip and resentment among employees.
  • Active listening and encouraging workers to speak up—including asking questions— helps employees feel valued and heard.
  • Don’t just lead, coach. Coaching is a vital part of supporting a team because it empowers employees and is critical to building and maintaining a motivated team.
  • The best leaders communicate goals and responsibilities clearly, providing explicit direction to their staff. By clearly communicating the goals and vision of the organization, successful managers help motivate teams to achieve their best.
  • In addition to showing respect for all employees, leaders can build empathy within the organization by using a storytelling approach; using real-life examples to help educate staff and win their loyalty. 


Leaders who are good communicators easily connect with and motivate their teams, while those with poor communication skills can have a negative impact on the business’s bottom line, costing it millions of dollars every year.


Communications firm Grammarly has posted communication tips, specifically geared toward a hybrid workplace. While meeting in person to collaborate on a new product introduction might be preferable, some meetings are just as effective remotely. Shorter virtual meetings when just small bites of information are communicated or one-on-one meetings between staff and managers are best suited to a virtual format.


Since many meetings aren’t held in the same space, it’s critical to make sure that meeting materials are accessible in hybrid situations. For example, if there is a PowerPoint presentation that is printed for in-person meeting attendees, a digital deck can help remote workers follow along. If a whiteboard is being used during a meeting, the employee who’s using it should position their camera so that employees at home can see the entire board. 


Because a hybrid workforce often allows for both flexible schedules and for teams to work across time zones, leaders should plan ahead by sharing an agenda and following up with recaps or recordings so all involved are on the same page. There are a variety of communications available to remote workers; choosing the right one will result in the best outcome. A quick check-in with a coworker is well suited to Slack, Facebook Messenger, or another instant-messaging platform. And while email is an essential part of communication for hybrid teams, using Zoom or Skype or another interactive platform allows teams access to visual and audio cues like facial expressions, body gestures, and intonation.


In addition to clear communication between management and work teams, leaders must also make an effort to better communicate with their customers. In a post for Forbes, Alexa Dagostino, owner of Thynktank Coaching, called effective communication the “superglue” that binds relationships, both professional and personal ones. As the global market has undeniably changed during the pandemic, it is even more critical for companies to better communicate their brands worldwide in an effort to build trust and lasting relationships between an organization and its clients.

Hoffman Academy Redefines Perspectives on Learning the Piano

At some point in their lives, many people entertain the idea of learning how to play the piano either as a hobby, a form of artistic expression, or simply as a new skill they can carry with them long-term. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time or the financial resources to take formal, traditional piano lessons. A few people are able to teach themselves to play the piano, but for most this method leads to frustration as it is very hard to progress without having someone to help you along the way. For those who want to learn piano on their own schedule and within a reasonable budget, Hoffman Academy provides the perfect balance of guidance, encouragement, and independent learning. Plus, learning with Hoffman Academy is a lot of fun!

Hoffman Academy has made music education accessible for everyone by creating fun piano lessons that are available online for a very reasonable price. Mr. Hoffman’s commitment to teaching and passion for music inspired him to find revolutionary ways to keep young learners’ interest in music alive while being mindful of their families’ budgets. 

Mr. Hoffman has been a dedicated piano teacher for many years. Throughout the course of his teaching career, he tried various existing piano methods in hopes of finding one that would keep the learning process engaging for his students. None of those methods provided the complete musical training he hoped to provide. Some methods were strictly focused on mastering the skill of note reading, while other approaches focused on learning by ear. Not one method was complete and perfect, prompting him to come up with his own method, which eventually became known as the Hoffman Method

The method begins by having students experience music. The idea behind this is to make music familiar to them in the same way that everyone learns to communicate using their native language – through listening and imitating sounds. The Hoffman Method teaches students to first grasp the sounds before they learn about symbols, the same way a child learns to speak before they learn to read. Interestingly, the method allows students to make music immediately in a fun and encouraging environment. 

As students progress, the Hoffman Method will teach them sight reading, rhythm, improvisation, transposition, solfege, music theory, ear training, technique, and composition. Many of these skills are introduced earlier in the Hoffman Method than they are in other music teaching methods, allowing students ample time to master them and grow their complete set of music skills together.

The Hoffman Method exemplifies everything that makes Mr. Hoffman an excellent and effective piano teacher. Apart from having taught music for many decades, Mr. Hoffman is also an expert educator with advanced degrees in music and childhood education. He’s a highly published composer, a favorite presenter at many piano teacher workshops and national conferences, and a judge at music competitions and festivals. 

Mr. Hoffman’s revolutionary approach activates children’s natural curiosity and playfulness. His positive, inviting style has completely changed the attitude of his students toward piano lessons. Mr. Hoffman’s students are eager to learn and eager to practice every day.

At present, the Hoffman Academy has more than 256,000 students from 115 countries all over the world. In addition, the academy’s YouTube views have reached a phenomenal 31 million views, a sure indicator that a massive number of learners appreciate and believe in the effectiveness of the Hoffman Method. 

By helping his students become well-rounded musicians, Mr. Hoffman is keeping the spirit of music alive in many homes across the globe and inspiring young musicians to dream big about their future. 


An Interview with Tiffany Smith of LAV Label About the Complexities of the Retail Industry

Tiffany Smith was born and raised in Chicago. Later in life, she relocated to Atlanta for 10 years where she was the director of a children’s daycare. Tiffany spent much of her time helping the daycare business scale up and open two new locations. Although she would eventually return to Chicago, she found her time in the childcare industry rewarding, as it allowed her to foster positive development in numerous children and help families communicate better with one another. Tiffany prides herself on being amicable, personable, and the type of person that others seek out for assistance.


Currently, Tiffany Smith is the owner of LAV Label, an online retail store where members earn money by referring others to shop there. LAV Label was created when Tiffany, an avid coupon enthusiast, decided to create an online system for easily locating specific coupons. From these humble beginnings, LAV Label has evolved into an e-commerce success story; a place where its numerous members can not only find vast discounts on their favorite consumer products, but also gain the experience to become prosperous entrepreneurs by setting up online storefronts.


Why did you decide to go into online retail?


I wanted to help make the discounts and sales available online more accessible to a larger crowd of people, many of whom operate on tight budgets. Originally, I was sharing coupons with a small group of friends who were already in my social circle, but taking my operation online helped expand it and make it more accessible to people all over the country.


What trends in your industry excite you? 


In retail and affiliate marketing, I’m excited to be able to help people earn money by referring others to our product. Giving people a place to both save and earn money is really important, especially right now because the price of everything is so high. Those few extra dollars mean a lot for many families.


What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?


I would tell anyone interested in entering the retail industry that you’ll want to have a solid business plan in place and you’ll definitely want to assemble a dependable and talented team. Something else to keep in mind is that it’s really difficult to source products when you’re starting out. There’s a lot that people don’t understand about that aspect of retail going into it, and it’s just one of those things you have to experience first-hand. I would also encourage business owners to go into retail energetically and with an open mind. It is a really beautiful thing to be able to solve a need that people have.


What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could? 


I would simplify the sourcing process because it’s a lot of work to find new products to sell right now. It’s still a very analog process. You attend trade shows and speak with the manufacturers directly, who then manually take your order. Sometimes you have to wait weeks or months for delivery of the order. Sometimes they sell out of things, but they’re not able to let you know about it up front. 


Who has been a role model to you and why?


My sister has been a fantastic role model. She’s the one who gave me the idea to start my own company, and she’s been very instrumental in helping me set things up because of her background in business and technology.


How do you maintain a work life balance?


It’s very difficult. I’ve been a business owner for six years, and I still don’t think I’ve found a proper balance. I’m only now starting to not work as much during the evenings. In the past, I’ve worked 16-hour days five days a week and then 12-hour workdays on the weekend. I’ve been doing that for a long time, but now I want to focus more on taking care of myself.


Explain the proudest day of your professional life.


Earlier this year, I found out that we paid millions of dollars in commission to our affiliates last year. It made me feel really happy to have such an impact on so many people’s lives and help so many people accomplish their goals and dreams.


What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome? 


Having to restructure the business. Affiliate marketing and direct selling is a tricky business and being able to overcome a lot of the chaos that goes along with it was a big accomplishment.


What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?


“Things done in haste make waste.” I got that saying from my grandmother years ago, and it’s really stuck with me because it taught me to stop rushing. It taught me to stop wanting to hurry and get something done just to cross it off a to-do list. It’s not about crossing something off, it’s about how effectively the task was executed. I had to start asking myself questions like “How productive are you being while you’re accomplishing the task?” and “Is this done to the best of your ability?” Previously, I would find myself rushing through things and it would come back to haunt me later on. Now, I live by my grandmother’s advice because I was wasting money and time by hurrying through things. I will say that I had to properly train my mind to not feel like I had to rush through stuff just to cross it off a list.


What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?


I would tell everyone to start thinking of backup plans in life for your income and finances. There are a lot of uncertainties in the world right now. Start thinking about creating different revenue streams and tucking away a nest egg to protect yourself and your family from any kind of financial crisis that might happen.

Why do you Need to Hire a Professional Moving Company?

If you hire a specialized mover to assist you with your transfer, you might have a less difficult and unpleasant moving experience. If you’re considering using a moving company, here are a few grounds for hiring professionals cross country movers  to help with your next move.


Consider that you want to relocate across the city, the state, or the country. Although there may be many details to figure out, moving your belongings will be important. Even though some people choose to do this on their own, we are here to give you every justification for hiring professional movers in its place.


If cost is a problem, don’t stress. Many movers will provide you with a free estimate before you agree, letting you be sure you get a package that meets your needs and your budget. These are the few factors that make you insist on hiring a cross-country moving company.

Peace of mind:

Sometimes, moving can be a difficult and upsetting experience. Professional movers know the best travel routes and how to treat your belongings securely. Most moving companies place a cap on their liability for loss and damage. However, if you have liability insurance, your products will be fixed or replaced on the uncommon occasion that something goes wrong. Having confidence that your possessions are safe on moving day will help.


Often, hiring a moving company is the most dependable option rather than attempting to move with the help of friends and family. Professional movers receive in-depth training in the best moving techniques to safeguard your belongings and avoid avoidable risks to their bodies.


A moving business will be held accountable for your relocation and put forth all effort to ensure that all of your belongings arrive at your doorstep without incident. Moving without the help of seasoned movers puts the responsibility of making sure all your belongings arrive safely on your shoulders, which may lead to higher costs and stress throughout your move.


A moving company can let you know when your belongings will be delivered to your new home. Your moving process will go more quickly and smoothly if you hire a good mover. Many companies take pride in offering prompt, effective service. They can also carry your couch up the staircase more quickly than you can!


It will be simpler for a professional moving company to convey all of your belongings to the truck and, later, into your new home. This includes heavy objects like furniture or bulky boxes.

Avoid Excessive Lifting:

Heavy lifting can lead to back discomfort and other health issues if you aren’t properly trained. You can avoid undertaking any heavy lifting while moving by hiring the service of a reliable moving company.


Specialized Inventory Technique:

Even though it can be hard to list everything in your home, a reliable moving company can handle it for you. This will ensure that everything gets to its new location safely without spending hours tracking down every box or object in your home.


Using a moving company makes the moving procedure substantially safer. Professionals with experience can load and unload stuff that you might not be familiar with carrying, carefully wrap a mattress, and pack and unpack boxes. They use authentic material to reduce or completely avoid damage to your possessions during the transfer. An experienced mover can alleviate your concerns and provide a safe, efficient, and swift-moving experience.

No hassle:

If you’ve considered asking friends or family to help you move, it’s important to understand the risks and challenges involved. With the help of a few friends, packing your complete house will be more challenging than if you hired professional movers to pack your boxes and move them safely to your new home.