A quarter-century of developing and commercializing biotechnology, diagnostics, devices and pharmaceuticals ideally prepared Marc Beer for co-founding a new company that can dramatically improve people’s lives. Along with Dr. Ramon Iglesias and Yolanda Lorie, Beer founded Renovia, Inc. in 2016 and closed successful Series A financing with impressive funding with health care venture capital. The company originates health care software and provides Massachusetts women with diagnostic and therapeutic devices to treat pelvic floor disorders.
With a lifetime of service in leadership positions in the health care industry, Beer founded ViaCell and served as its CEO. Growing the company into a successful organization, he made it an attractive acquisition for PerkinElmer. Concurrently, he became a member of Erytech Pharma’s board of directors. As a civic-minded leader, Beer serves as a member of the Business Advisory Council at his alma mater, Ohio’s Miami University, in addition to his leadership of Renovia as Chair and CEO. He served on Notre Dame’s Graduate Studies Research and Advisory Council as well as the school’s Research and Commercialization Advisory Committee.
Understanding the Value of Communication
A study by SHRM focuses on the costs that American businesses incur from poor communication to and among employees. An estimated $62.4 million loss annually reflects the importance of strong communication skills. Forty companies with 100,000 or more employees contributed to the study which represents international participation. Companies with 100 employees experienced losses of up to $420,000 each year. As an experienced motivational leader, Marc Beer suggests 11 tips that employees and managers can use to improve communication on the job. A visionary leader who contributes his time and knowledge as an adviser to various boards and organizations, he believes that strong communication skills can improve effectiveness both on and off the job.
1) Welcoming Each Opportunity
American essayist Emerson noted that nothing great ever happens without enthusiasm, and Beer reflects the concept in his approach to life. He finds no opportunity too small to accept as a path toward fulfilling a goal. A chance encounter with a new contact or a conversation with a colleague can provide a chance to exchange ideas. Communication lines must remain open for existing relationships to strengthen and new ones to emerge. Your ability to speak up and introduce yourself encourages others who may want to participate in conversation but may not know how to begin.
2) Maintaining Focus
As a dynamic leader, Marc Beer has a clear goal that he wants to achieve in a conversation. The small talk that people often use for maintaining casual relationships may consist of sports events, the weather or the weekend’s activities. Master communicators can use small talk as an opening to a discussion of more important topics. While chatting about insignificant issues, you can think about what you hope to achieve from a conversation. Your intent helps you select the matters to bring up and resolve. Beer recommends the practice when you reply to an email or speak person to person.
3) Choosing Your Time to Speak
While firmly held beliefs may make you want to present your viewpoint at the first opportunity, Beer suggests that you hold back until you see what others think. The companies that responded to the SHRM survey may not have understood that effective communication starts with listening well, but you can show that you do. While you wait for your turn to speak, you can think about what you want to say. The technique works exceptionally well if your organization’s communications tend to show sharp differences of opinion.
4) Relying on Authenticity
Audio and video technology widely available in complex systems or electronic devices create an accurate recording of spoken words that no one can deny. However, the temptation still exists to make up an answer when you do not know what to say. Marc Beer suggests that you resist the urge to seem to have more knowledge than you do. Truthfulness, honesty and humility represent qualities that most people admire, and you need to incorporate them into your presentations. You can move past an awkward situation by acknowledging that you do not know the answer and offer to research the issue to obtain one.
5) Letting Body Language Convey a Positive Message
An adage reminds everyone that actions may have more power than words, and you can see the truth in the observation. As you talk to someone, you can observe their reaction to your words by the signals that they send with their body. You must maintain awareness of the clues that you present as well. When you put your arms across your chest, you signal a lack of acceptance while fiddling with objects reveals low interest in paying attention. Beer recommends using body language that encourages others to communicate without intimidation.
6) Remaining in the Present
The demands of a busy schedule may entice you to think about the many tasks that you face and must complete within a limited time. The practice of multitasking has become so accepted that you may do it without realizing it. As a dynamic leader who seems to have boundless energy, Marc Beer advises against the practice and considers it somewhat rude. You risk misunderstanding a point that someone else makes if you have your mind on an unrelated matter. Disrespect for others creates hurt feelings and damaged relationships, none more offensive than checking a cellphone during a conversation. Master communicators respect verbal partners and keep their full attention focused on the present.
7) Maintaining Personal Integrity
Shakespeare’s Hamlet provides a classic statement of the need for integrity, and it remains as an excellent guide after more than 400 years. While you may need to make some adjustments as you develop the skills that can turn you into a master communicator, you must remain true to yourself. Some outward appearances may change, but you do not need to assume a false personality to impress others. People respect your integrity as someone who speaks the truth with sincerity and tactfulness. Whether you enjoy a gregarious lifestyle or prefer a retiring one, you can express your honest thoughts in language free of emotion that honors your skill as a master communicator.
8) Recognizing the Communication Skills of Others
You learn to listen well to what others think even though they may not have the ability to respond as adequately as you do. One of your essential skills in your role as a facilitator in the exchange of ideas requires you to respond tactfully to every concept that others may suggest. Some people may have a level of timidity that prevents them from contributing ideas in a discussion setting. You can help them go around communication obstacles by asking a question that elicits more than a one-word reply. Your phrasing can make it easier for everyone to contribute, and your role as a master communicator demands it. As an expert in compensation, Beer recommends asking people to say what they want from their benefits package instead of whether they like it or not.
9) Learning to Estimate the Need for Detail
As a practiced communicator, you have verbal skills that allow you to present an almost endless amount of information that reveals your expertise. Knowing how much detail to provide may create a challenge that you do not want. The ability of listeners to absorb information may not match the amount that you can provide. You can judge how deeply to go into a topic by the reactions of your listeners as you speak or read a terse reply in an email. A goal to inform rather than overwhelm comports well with your role as a master communicator. No matter how complex an issue may seem, it rarely requires the explanation of every detail. In subsequent venues, you can provide in-depth information that elaborates on the finite contents of projects or plans.
10) Watching the Ebb and Flow
Two-way communication requires the participation of willing parties, and it involves listening as well as talking. While you may know where you want a conversation to go, the outcome does not give you the results that you want when you try to force it in your direction. Marc Beer states that examples of the futility of the practice occur in minor matters as well as significant ones. A recommendation for improving a company’s productivity may not have resonated as well as you had hoped, and you may have chosen to pursue it anyway. A better approach that may produce more pleasing results lets you adapt to the flow of the conversation without trying to direct it.
11) Adopting a Socially Acceptable Approach
While you may feel strongly about your position on company policies or practices, no one wants to hear you air differences or reveal personality conflicts. As a master communicator, you can use conciliatory language that lets you maintain a graceful presence. When others criticize your position on an issue or point out a mistake, you can resist the urge to lash out by gracefully accepting the comments. While you believe in your ideas and strive to encourage others to accept them, you cannot always claim perfection. Your path to advancement within your company may depend on your ability to receive and respond to criticism with grace.