Do you feel misunderstood? How to communicate effectively in a startup.

Posted on July 26, 2011 by


Entrepreneurs in tight spacesIn the life of a startup you get to work intimately with a small group of people often in close quarters. Here at Two Dogs and A Startup, our founding team split our time working out of my living room (sharing desks and sitting on patio chairs) and working remotely. Such working conditions can be very rewarding and fun but also they come with challenges. 

So how do founding teams succeed and thrive under such conditions? 

 Effective communication and interpersonal skills (not to mention effective usage of Skype and Google Chat) are key and sometimes overlooked by entrepreneurs (including myself).

 Here is a short list of things you can do to improve your communication and interpersonal skills:

  • Active listening: This may seem really obvious, but when people are busy they forget the importance of taking the time to actually listen to others. Body language and constructive feedback are key to showing other that you are listening.
  • Honesty and Transparency: There is no room in a startup for bad vibes and half-truths. Telling the truth all the time is a great rule to implement in a startup and builds a great foundation for your company’s culture.  Another great rule to have is to be transparent at all times. People will respect that and have a higher level of comfort working with you if they feel they know everything that they need to know.
  • Respect: Treating other how you would like to be treated and/or putting yourself in their shoes are great way to ensure you connect with other in a meaningful way. By thinking of how people will react to your ideas, emails etc you will increase the rate of acceptance as you are tailoring the content to meet their needs.
  •  Don’t Be Scared: Life is full of unpleasant and difficult topics that need to be discussed. Ducking, weaving and downright avoiding these topics in a startup is a recipe for disaster. So my suggestion, approach these topics and issues with honesty, respect and bravery to help you navigate these situations with more ease and grace.

We would love to hear about any other suggestions you may have for how to improve your communication and interpersonal skills – so drop us our line.

Till next time,


Posted in: Advise