by Steve Adubato, PhD

It’s Labor Day weekend. While summer is not officially over until later this month, for many of us, on Tuesday we get down to real business again. For weeks, or in some cases months, it has been hard to connect with clients and customers. Vacations, shortened work weeks, flex hours—simply put, summer can sometimes be a hard time to conduct serious business.

So much of our business revolves around the way we communicate with key stakeholders, so after today there are no excuses. It’s time to make those important connections with those who matter. With this in mind, here are some simple, tangible and practical communication tips and tools that you can start using this week.

--Make a list of five clients or customers you haven’t spoken to in a few months. Call each of them and say something like; “Hey Bob. It’s me, Jim. I hope you and your family had a great summer. I know we haven’t spoken in a few months and I’d love to catch up. Give me a call on my cell when you get a chance. I know you have the number, but just in case you don’t have it handy, it’s…” The key here is to let Bob know you are thinking about him and that you acknowledge that some time has gone by since your last communication. You don’t have need anything pressing to talk about either. You are, in fact, “catching up” and in the course of doing that, some significant business-related topic is bound to pop up.

--Some people like the welcome back e-mail, rather than the phone call, so do it. Send an e-mail to Bob saying pretty much the same thing, but because you are sending an e-mail, you can also attach or include an interesting article or piece of information that you came across that you are confident will be of interest to Jim. The key is to get the post-Labor Day dialogue going instead of waiting for Bob to reach out to you.

--Call a team meeting. I’m not a huge fan of meeting just to meet, but many of your people have been on vacation and it has been hard to get them together at any one time. Now that the summer is over, most of your office staff is now back. In calling the meeting, tell each team member exactly what the purpose is, which is to catch up on important developments and to share ideas about upcoming business challenges and/or opportunities. In fact, in an e-mail, tell each team member to be thinking about specific agenda items and come prepared to offer their feedback. Make sure when you have the meeting you facilitate the conversation to ensure that the feedback is heard. Reestablishing two-way communication on your team is essential, especially after the sometimes lazy summer period.

--Take a closer look at your organization’s Web site and overall social media plan. Don’t get stuck with the status quo. The digital communication world is changing constantly and too often individuals and organizations in business become stagnant, especially in the summer months. Post-Labor Day is the perfect time to sit around a desk with key team members and put your Web site up on a large screen to analyze it. Delete what is outdated, include what is new, redesign what is flat and get the best of everyone’s thinking.

Hopefully the summer months were used to recharge your battery and you got the chance to rest and relax. But now it’s time to reconnect, redesign and re-energize yourself, your team and your organization. So start communicating. Tomorrow is LABOR Day—emphasis on the word “labor”— that means work. So let’s get down to business.