Effective business communication is concerned with getting your message across to other individuals without being misconstrued no matter what medium you use. Your goal is to build rapport and created enjoyable work relationships.
When done right, it can help elicit information, obtain the right responses, convince investors in a business plan presentation, persuade individuals to buy your product or simply inform others of the message you want to put across.
Strong communication skills in the workplace are key to ensuring that all employees are kept informed and reporting channels are open for feedback of good & bad events.
Likewise, external communications with customers and clients require careful consideration establish business relationships.
Benefits of effective business communication skills
Effective business communications are a key part of modern part of relationship-driven workplaces. Everyone from salesmen to customer support representatives need to be able to establish a rapport with customers/clients in order to elicit the best responses and solutions. The benefits are:
- Helps to make a good first impression which leads to a sense of trust.
- Good customer service & client facing skills establish a rapport with individuals which leads to lasting business relationships.
- Proves invaluable in negotiation situations where clear, concise and professional communications are essential to ensure there are no misconceptions or emotionally elevated discussions.
Keys to effective business communication skills
The process of communicating with others is something we feel quite comfortable with since we spent our entire lives interacting with friends, colleagues and relations. However, the ability to perform effective business communications requires you to focus on some of the key mistakes and therefore proper methods for ensuring your interactions go smoothly. Here are some tips whether you are looking to improve verbal or written communications:
- Always focus on the goal or benefit: Every interaction or message should have an objective whether that is to sell a product or inform individuals of specific information. Diverging off the message/objective causes confusion.
- Write in the same way you speak: Any written communications (digital or hard copy) are more easily read and understood by individuals if they reflect your verbal style.
- Use language that targets your audience: Using complicated phrases, terms or abbreviations will not be understood if your interaction is intended for a large group of people. Specialized terms and phrases should only be used with targeted communications to those who understand the terms.
- Use a positive approach to your tone: Negative messages can still be communicated in a sensitive and considerate way. Try to put a positive slant on all messages as the recipient will have a tendency of dealing with messages emotionally, which can lead to arguments or terse responses.
- Anticipate what questions will be asked: This is one of the key effective business communication skills when making presentations or sending e-mails. If you can plan ahead to what questions you will get then your initial messages can provide answers before they are needed.
- Keep it concise: A short specific message reduces the chances of messages being misconceived or misread. Provide enough information so that your actual message can be correctly understood without ambiguity.
- Leave some time before proofreading: With any written communications it is worthwhile pausing for before proofreading in order to view your message with fresh eyes. This can also help you to reconsider any inflammatory messages you may wish to send, as with time you will start to reconsider the value of sending accusatory/condemning messages.
Nuances of effective business communications: Verbal interactions
When talking with individuals the danger is that there will be an awful lot of additional small talk which can lead away from the core message you want to get across. You need to use active listening techniques to ensure you correctly understand the issues that may be getting communicated to you. This ensures you collaborate on the correct responses straightaway.
You should also realize with intercultural communication in the workplace that there are specific cultural norms when using slang language or specific terms. These can be misconceived by fellow colleagues so become keenly aware of such language’s impact. Keep this in mind when applying whatever performance appraisal/evaluation methods you use for assessing employees.
Effective business communication through body language
The simple fact is that in face-to-face communications a large amount of your message is actually communicated through your body language. Having an understanding of body language can help you be perceived better by others in a more professional way. It can also help you understand if others are growing tired, board or angry within their interactions with you. Some of the key elements to look out for are:
- Maintaining eye contact instills trust and establishes rapport with other individuals. Be careful of any cultural norms which may make this appear aggressive with some nationalities.
- Your posture when sitting and walking is a reflection of your internal emotional states and attitudes. Slumping in a chair shows a non-professional side of yourself. Be keenly aware that how you sit, walk and carry yourself presents a lasting impression with others even before you open your mouth.
- Establish a professional and firm handshake, use the right vocal tones in your voice and do not exceed personal distance boundaries when communicating and dealing with others. These establish a rapport and level of comfort with others prior to starting into your verbal interactions.
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