Whether you are an owner, director or senior manager, you will know that there is always room to take business communication, both internally and externally, to a higher level. Here are 8 simple steps that will help you do better business:
1 Time your business communications carefully
Most of us will give some thought to the timing of any important business updates. However, communication is constant and occurs on so many different levels that it’s easy to just have a conversation at the wrong time. You want everyone’s full attention, so try and be mindful of any other projects, or even personal issues, that might be occupying them.
2 Location, location, location
Anyone truly skilled in the art of communication will understand that ‘where’ you choose to have your conversation or meeting is often just as important as the substance of the business communication itself. Here are just a few things to consider when deciding on a suitable location:
- Do you need privacy?
- Is it quiet enough and can everyone be heard?
- Will you have everyone’s full attention?
3 Listen before talking
It doesn’t matter whether you are holding a team meeting, or meeting with a potential new client. No one wants to be bombarded with information and everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated. Take a few minutes out to ask how everyone is feeling? Truly listen to the other person. Is everyone okay? Set aside a few minutes to listen to any gripes or grumbles. Be present as they speak and show that you understand what they are saying.
4 Don’t interrupt
Avoid interrupting someone while they are speaking. If you’re a natural talker or a problem solver, then you can sometimes be hardwired to interrupt in your desire to get your point across. If this sounds like you, then try and consciously make the effort to stop interrupting others.
5 Ask lots of questions
If you don’t ask questions, then how will the person know that you are trying to see things from their point of view? Questioning intensively will not only help you to understand any objections or facts but it will also show that you are serious.
6 Embrace the positive
Don’t take positive or reciprocal gestures for granted. Make sure that you express appropriate gratitude as this will help to cement the relationship, making future business communication so much easier.
7 Be realistic
Communication is a two-way street. If you go into a meeting expecting to get everything your own way, then the chances are you are going to be disappointed. Whether you are meeting with staff or prospective clients, you need to be prepared to give ground and accommodate the other party. Change is a rolling process.
8 Look for non-verbal signs
We don’t just communicate orally. Watching for body language (while being mindful of your own) can be the difference between success and failure. If the non-verbal signs seem as though they are going to overshadow the message that you are communicating, then maybe it’s time to dial things down.
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