One of the determining factors in any business success is effective communication. Not only is poor communication frustrating at a personal level, but it also has the potential to cause a significant financial loss. Poor communication can also lead to delays, project failures or even client loss, to name a few. Since there is so much at stake, every employee – especially those working in higher positions – should try to improve their communication skills. A good introduction to effective business communication is these 5 steps:
1. Be concise. To communicate efficiently, you need to keep your communication straightforward and avoid unnecessary repetition. That helps save time on reading and interpreting for both sides as well as helps avoid any misunderstanding. To communicate concisely in writing, check if there are any long sentences or paragraphs in documents. If needed, shorten or restructure them. If you find any piece of information that is not directly related to the main text topic, you should delete it. For proofreading assistance, you can use virtual writing assistants that can help you quickly identify places within your text that could be shortened.
2. Know your audience. Any business communication strategy should start with an overview of consumer personas, just like any marketing campaign would do. Before launching any communication strategy, you need to thoroughly understand your target audience. For example, you need to be aware that corporate communication might require using more statistics and graphs or that communication with a specific team might require using specific industry terms. Furthermore, knowing your target audience will also ensure that any information you share is compliant with market regulations.
3. Listen. If there is a problem, you should never try to impose a solution. Start with describing the problem and its impact on your business. Then ask others what can be done to solve the problem. Try to be open-minded to hear all relevant feedback. Using that information, try to come up with a solution that combines what everyone involved wants. Never interrupt someone’s speech, and respond only when the speaker has finished talking. Listening attentively sends the message that all parties involved are working together to find a mutually acceptable solution.
4. Keep silent. One of the most common mistakes in business communication is replying too soon. It has been observed that in many cases a quick reply can hurt a conversation and prevent learning more about the issue at hand. If you stay silent after hearing someone out, you encourage that person to continue talking and provide more useful information. Whenever you are listening to any kind of work-related speech, remember to wait until the speaker has stopped talking for about 10 seconds before answering or asking some follow-up questions.
5. Take the HOT approach. Many successful organizations take the HOT approach to business communication to ensure higher communication standards as well as achieving desirable results. The HOT approach stands for honest, open and two-way business communication. It is based on the following rules:
- Always tell the truth. Any false information or the distortion of facts can have a profound negative impact.
- Always be open as that helps promote openness within teams.
- Always adopt two-way communication to establish better business communication.