Partner communication at your business can be frustrating. How many times have you thought you communicated expectations clearly to a business partner, only to find when the final product was delivered, it wasn’t at all what you expected? If you’re like most of us, the answer is “too often.” Partner communication requires that hat both sides of the table understand each other’s duties and responsibilities. Here are five tips that can help:
- Assume nothing. When meeting with a business partner to discuss collaboration, don’t assume they share your vision. Just because you have a crystal clear idea of what needs to happen in your head, it doesn’t mean your counterparts share that clarity.
- Communicate your desired outcome clearly—but without micromanaging the details. For example, the outcome might be “Create a joint press event showcasing our two companies’ recent achievements.” Leave it at that, and see what emerges.
Partner communication requires careful attention.
- Be open to suggestions. Again, you may have a crystal clear idea of what you’d like to see happen. But your collaborators may have ideas of their own. You’re much more likely to get buy-in if you’re willing to modify your idea to accommodate the ideas of others.
- Take notes on what’s discussed. Send these notes out following the meeting, identifying what was agreed upon, who is responsible for which tasks and next steps, and what the deadlines are.
- Hold people accountable. Sending out minutes or notes isn’t enough—it’s important to follow up with each member of the team to ensure that they’re carrying out their tasks, or to see if they need any assistance.
Partner communication requires careful attention. With openness and an eye for detail, there’s no reason that the finished product can’t reflect your initial hopes and dreams.