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COMMUNICATION


“The second thing you need to do is start talking about what you’re going to do when things go wrong. Com- munication is such a nebulous thing – if you and I know each other well enough we don’t have a problem with communication. When do the problems start? When there is a problem. When I phone and say to you, ‘Sorry, that hotel is fully booked,’ or when I have to say to you, ‘I’m sorry, there’s a problem with the airline.’ That’s the time when you have to start thinking about communication. It’s when things are not going well.”


Lacey concludes: “If you want to prevent things going wrong, then meet up with people.”


BE TRUSTED, EFFECTIVE


AND RELEVANT Travel teams need to be able to communi- cate effectively to different stakeholder groups, argues Andersson. “To be trusted and relevant is fundamental for a successful travel manager,” she says. “Many travel managers tell us they are strug- gling with how to engage with key stakeholders and how to communicate effectively. Stakeholder mapping is critical to know who to engage, their status today and to understand their needs. “To create a communication plan with the focus to


report on the identified needs with actionable insights will make the communication not only relevant to the stakeholders but also useful to drive policy compliance. “A proactive travel manager has ensured that the travel


policy is easy to read, accessible and linked to overall company goals and values. One of the most complex com- munication tasks is policy change – you need to involve multiple stakeholders across the business, ensure clarity of message and update messaging in many channels.” The Church of England’s Day agrees. “Continuing to put myself into relevant situations provides valuable experience. I have found that listening to people’s requirements, however strange they may sometimes seem, is valuable. Colleagues want to know they have been listened to and their concerns taken seriously.”


FINALLY, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE


The GBTA’s McGavock says first and foremost it’s impera- tive that buyers understand and know their audience and tailor their communication and tone of voice accordingly. “Ensure your points relate to the company or depart-


ment’s strategies and priorities, so everyone can relate and appreciate what you are trying to achieve,” she adds. “Get to the point, whether it is verbally or by email. Your audience’s time and attention spans are limited. Repeat the main points at the beginning, middle and in summary to ensure you get your message across.”


92 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


ONE OF THE


MOST COMPLEX COMMUNICATION TASKS IS POLICY CHANGE


Hear more expert advice at next month’s Business Travel Show during a session that highlights how best to engage internal stakeholders. Alex Cousins, global director, account management, Reed & Mackay, reveals all at the session “Communication – how to engage travellers and other stakeholders in your travel programme”, which takes place 1600- 1700hrs, 21 February. For more details, go to businesstravelshow.com


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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