Effective business communication is crucial for the success of any company. Poor communication is not only frustrating on a personal level, but has the potential of causing huge financial loss. Misinterpreted messages, lost emails, or poor understanding can cause delays, failed projects, or loss of clients. Therefore, it is important for everyone in your company to improve their communication skills, especially when in a position of power.
We have gathered a small collection of tips and techniques that you can apply to become a better communicator and help your company progress.
1. Keep silent
The most common mistake everyone makes in communication is replying too soon. More often than not, a hasty reply will only hurt the conversation and actually prevent us from learning more.
Staying silent after hearing a statement encourages the other person to go on and offer us more information. Whether you are hearing a pitch, a report, or just having a conversation, wait until the other person has gone silent for about 10 seconds before replying or asking follow-up questions.
2. Ask questions
Asking questions has two major benefits in communication: first, they help us find out the information we want and second, it shows the other person that we are interested in what they have to say, which keeps the conversation going.
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The more questions you ask, the better you will understand the subject being discussed. More than that, managers and team leaders should ask questions with the purpose of testing the level of understanding their subordinates have regarding a subject. Questions are the engine of communication, so never be afraid to keep it revved.
3. Listen actively
Hearing the words coming out of someone’s mouth isn’t always the same as listening. Listening implies engagement and acknowledgment. Nodding, repeating what has been said, and asking questions, are all active listening strategies that improve the quality of the conversation and increase the amount of information that you will be remembering. The most frequent example is repeating a person’s name when you’re being introduced to them.
At work, active listening increases the amount of details you will remember, shows interest in the other person and builds a connection between the parts involved.
4. Give feedback
In almost any work environment, feedback is a crucial part of the workflow. Knowing other people’s opinions, hearing their suggestions, and offering your own in return is what leads to progress and development. But both giving and receiving feedback can be a very fragile communication process.
Being honest is always important, but the way you deliver your point of view can make all the difference between a positive and a negative experience. Most people are sensitive to criticism and a brutally honest opinion can be perceived as malicious. So it is always important to frame your feedback in a positive manner, even when it’s criticism. Ask additional questions to make sure you understood everything right, then offer advice for improvement instead of tearing down other people’s work.
5. Show empathy
Work environment can be very stressful and overwhelming, which is exactly why we need to show empathy to one another. Empathetic communication builds trust among coworkers while encouraging people to keep doing the best, even when that doesn’t seem to be good enough.
People are more likely to put in more effort when they feel like their struggle is appreciated instead of being ignored. Nobody likes to be treated like a robot that is always expected to be productive.
Practice empathy at work and share your feelings with your teammates. More often than not, you will realize that most people share similar feelings and struggles as you do.
6. Stay enthusiastic
Keeping a positive attitude is always important for effective business communication. Successful interactions with bosses, teammates, or clients require expressing a high level of enthusiasm.
The reason why sales people always smile at clients is that people are more receptive and more likely to respond to positive stimuli.
7. Watch your body language
No one wants to talk to someone who is constantly rolling their eyes, sighing, resting their chins in their fist or constantly checking their smartphones. All these are signs that you couldn’t be less interested in whatever the other person has to say. One doesn’t have to be a Lie to Me detective to notice that. Instead position yourself to seem attentive, make eye contact, nod in agreement or shake your head in support.
Body language is a huge part of nonverbal communication that shows how you actually feel during the conversation. Besides that, it also makes the difference between someone who is in a position (pun unintended) of power and knowledgeable, and someone who has little understanding of the matter discussed.
8. Build connections
If you want people to actually listen and understand what you are saying, you need to do more than speaking. You need to build connections. Show interest in your conversation partner and they will return the favor. Knowing who you are talking to, what is their background, and what are their interests will give you a clear idea of how to approach any subject in order to actually reach them. A good communicator knows their audience and shapes their message accordingly.
Just as important, this is a great networking strategy. Building connections with other professionals should be a part of anyone’s career plans.
9. Use the proper tools for an effective business communication
In this day and age, face to face interactions are frequently being replaced with digital communication. The channel we choose for that purpose is crucial for the effectiveness of communication. While older generations still prefer the good old email, millennials and Y-ers are more inclined to using live chat.
Therefore, many companies rely on team communication apps such as Hubgets to handle their daily communication needs. Besides saving time, team communication apps have other great advantages, such as equal access to information in real-time and for future reference, unaffected by the geographical location of team members. Business communication has never been more effective.
Power is in your hands
Improving the quality of your communication ultimately requires change at a personal level. Effective business communication is the consequence of the shared personal efforts of all the parties involved.
Start small by working on improving your own communication skills, have your company offer communication trainings to all employees, and encourage a culture of honesty, trust, and collaboration.