5 min read

11:FS value two – Communication: we all own our narrative

David M. Brear

Last week as part of the 11:FS values launch, I delved deeper into what it means to us to be a team, and why success is a team sport at 11:FS… and no, it isn’t about being the biggest or the fastest on the court. If you missed it check it out here. This week, I’m going to discuss how we tell the outside world what we’re all about. Value number two - Communication: we all own our narrative.

We’ve all been there: you get a tip about an interesting new company doing bold work. Intrigued, you decide to look into it. A few clicks later, you’re on their ‘about’ page. You start reading. And reading. And reading...

After combing through columns of vague text and enough stock images to fill a photo album, you still don’t know what, exactly, this company does.

Sure, you may have a vague idea. Maybe some buzzwords gave you the impression that something impressive was going on. But you’re mostly going on assumptions: about the company’s mission, its values, its impact.

We don’t do that.

We’re in the business of saying what we mean, clearly and concisely

When we speak, people understand what we say. They don’t need to guess what we do, think or stand for. They know, without a shadow of a doubt, because we tell them. And we back that up with every action we take.

In short, we’re credible. We’re authoritative but we’re also fun and unique. Our tone is unmatched in the industry.

And we never, ever, read the slides.

Jargon, corporate lingo and marketing speak have no place in our copy. It’s not about saying something for the sake of saying it – we’re in the business of saying what we mean, clearly and concisely.

Basically, we’re great communicators. Here’s how we do it…

We play well with others

Whether we’re talking to the public or just amongst ourselves, we need to speak and write well. Our messaging may change, but the way we communicate with others should always remain consistent.

As a company, we bring the same level of care, clarity and concision to everything we say: to teammates, to partners, to clients, to everyone.

We give constructive feedback

Our first drafts are rarely our final drafts. We know it takes consideration to communicate a message perfectly, so we give proactive feedback to ensure constant improvement for both our clients and our team.

Those comments can be positive or negative, but they’re always respectful. We never criticise for the sake of criticising; we appraise our work to make it – and, by extension, all of us – the best it could possibly be.

We follow the fundamentals

A company’s communications should express their values. Since our business is all about giving people clear and actionable insights, our speech and writing is as precise and prescriptive as possible. In that spirit, we follow a few fundamentals so our comms reflect our guiding principles.

  • Brevity: we value our audience’s time, so we make our points quickly. We don’t sacrifice nuance, but we don’t waffle, either.
  • Clarity: we communicate clearly and capably. Our messaging is direct and immediate, never obscure.
  • Context: our messaging is relevant. We speak when we have something to say, never for the sake of it.
  • Impact: our points are memorable, either because they’re funny, smart or creative metaphorical. Special points for all three.
  • Valuable: our messaging offers something to everyone who interacts with it.

We’re great listeners

No one ever learned anything by talking all the time. When we communicate, we try to start a conversation with our audience. If we take up all the oxygen in the room, we’ll just end up suffocating our message.

Sometimes it’s more productive to let someone else have the floor. So we listen closely and in ratio factor of 500% more than we talk. Not only do we learn a lot more that way, but our points make much more of an impact when we do speak up.

We communicate face-to-face

People’s emotions and body language tell half the story. Facial expressions, gestures and posture can say more than words. We need to be able to read those cues, but we must also know how to use them effectively.

That’s why we engage face-to-face whenever possible, and if it’s a call we switch the camera on. Obviously, that isn’t always an option; a phone call or email may suffice when time or wifi is in short supply. But if we have the choice between interacting with someone in person or through a screen, we always choose the former.

We are deeply empathetic

Everything we do ultimately boils down to fulfilling our customers’ needs. If we can’t put ourselves in their shoes, we won’t know what problems they’re facing or what solutions will help them. Empathy isn’t just a key value for us – it’s essential to how we move through the world.

Communicating effectively means meeting our audience on its level. Our messaging can be flashy and hyper-articulate, but if it doesn’t serve the interest of our end user, it’s not going to make a difference.

We’re all responsible for our success

Each of these points is important in shaping our narrative. But this story isn’t being told by just one person, or even a group of people. It’s up to everyone in the company to ensure the company as a whole embodies these values in everything we do. We all have a part to play in telling the 11:FS story and you as our community can help with that ;)

So here are our attributes that make up communication at 11:FS:

Confident

We communicate with certainty. We are confident in our ability to succeed from being prepared and being experts at what we do. We don’t blag it.

Clear

We distill down to the critical information. We know what matters and focus on that. Our communication is clear and memorable.

Transparent

We believe in being open and honest with others and ourselves. We share our workings and explain our actions. We talk to people not about people. We are not afraid to have difficult conversations.

Come back next week when David unveils our next value. In the meantime, are you looking for a change of gear or a new challenge? Then head over to our Careers page to see if anything takes your fancy.

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 David M. Brear
About the author

David M. Brear

David is the CEO of 11:FS and since his dream of being a sportsperson was crushed (along with the ligaments in his knee!) and he had to get a proper job, he has worked in pretty much every angle of financial services industry but never lost that competitive desire to win.

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