Regardless of the industry that you work in or the type of position you have within your company, effective communication in the business world is imperative. You must communicate with employees, business partners, suppliers, customers and others on a regular basis and in various ways. Your method of communication and how effectively you transmit messages to others can affect the reputation of your brand, and you may find that you can either enhance your brand’s image or damage it depending on how clearly you communicate.
Regardless of whether you are communicating face-to-face, in written form or in another way, you should be aware of these important tips to facilitate communication efforts and results.
1. Listen and Pay Attention
Communication is not only about your ability to be heard. It is a two-way method, and it means that you must tune into the conversation fully and be an attentive, active listener in order to communicate effectively. Focus your attention fully on the conversation, and ask questions to confirm your interest and to clarify meaning or intention. Avoid listening to your inner dialogue, and learn how to block out bothersome distractions.
Understand the importance of body language and tone of voice with face-to-face communication. Confidence, eye contact and nodding can go a long way toward expressing your interest to the other party. However, be aware that written correspondence also requires your attention. Always read through the correspondence carefully to ensure meaning, and always issue a prompt, meaningful response.
To further facilitate communication, focus on what the other party is trying to communicate to you and what they want out of the situation. Attempt to give them what they want when possible to make the interaction a positive experience for them. You can also throw in personal elements to the conversation or communication to add meaning, such as by remembering a person’s birthday or another personal detail.
2. Show Respect
Regardless of the method of communication being used, always choose your words wisely to avoid coming off as condescending or arrogant. Sensitive issues should be handled with extra care, and your respect for different sides of an argument should be apparent. Respect is critical for all types of communication, including with customers, partners, employees and others. A great way to display respect to others is to use good manners and follow established rules of etiquette.
Continue to remain calm and respectful in tense situations. While you can express displeasure or a lack of agreement, do so in a respectful manner. Avoid interrupting, and ensure that the other person understands your point of view clearly.
3. Keep the Communication Going
When communicating with individuals in your company, understand the importance of a timely response. Using a chat messenger system is a great way to encourage your team members to communicate regularly, but when in formal occasions or team meetings, in-person communication is also important. Be willing to give your employees feedback, and ask them to share their comments and ideas with you.
Communication with partners should be personal yet professional. Remember their birthday, and always send a congratulatory message when it is in order. With your customers, remain professional even if the conversation becomes heated. Remember that you should respond to questions and concerns promptly and in an appropriate way that addresses the matter fully.
4. Communicate Clearly
In an ideal situation, everyone who you communicate with will have a clear understanding of your message on the first attempt, but in reality, communication is often misunderstood or not fully absorbed. You can take steps to communicate clearly to improve the likelihood of your message being understood. Avoid using pretentious words that others may find annoying, and do not use jargon unless you are speaking to a knowledgeable industry professional. Your words should be carefully chosen for your audience, and they should not be used to show off your status or intelligence unnecessarily.
With written messages especially understand that people are busy and often cannot commit a lengthy amount of time to understanding your communication or to developing a response. Therefore, your communication should always be courteous of their limited amount of time. This is accomplished by making your message concise and well-developed rather than rambling. Make it clear exactly what you want or need from the other person.
5. Be Professional and Pleasant
Your communication should project you as being both professional and pleasant. When communicating in person, avoid fillers such as “um” and “like,” which can make you sound unconfident or uneducated. When communicating in writing, proofread your correspondence to ensure that it is free of errors and that all details are correct. You should also prepare yourself fully for all types of conversations before you are confronted with them so that you sound competent.
Understand that you directly represent your brand in all forms of communication. Your communication should, therefore, be pleasant and professional, but it ideally will not come off as arrogant or rigid. Smiling is important for in-person communication, and those reading your written messages should clearly be able to interpret kindness and pleasantness from your written words.
Some business professionals are born communicators, but many people need to actively work on improving in this area. Through more effective communication with others, you can grow your business, develop your brand and build rapport with your employees, partners and customers. Think of each communication effort as an opportunity to improve, and employ these tips for great results.