Effective business communication is defined as an information sharing process where each party involved has a clear understanding of the message being conveyed. This means that both the speaker and the listener(s) need to be on the same page. If they are not, ideas fall flat, interest wanes and more often than not, incorrect assumptions and conclusions are made.
To ensure success during all forms of business communication, whether customer pitches or internal feedback sessions, be sure to put these tips into action:
Tip #1 Know your audience: The language, tonality, and presentation style you choose must be aligned with what works best for your target audience. Consider the background, roles & responsibilities, authority level and communication preferences of your audience when creating your plan of attack.
Tip #2 Get to the point: Don’t drag a message out with unnecessary details or “fluff”. Keep in mind that most people are juggling many things at once and therefore don’t have the time or the attention span. You need to get to the point as quickly as possible to ensure that you have a captive audience right up to the point where decisions need to be made or actions need to be owned.
Tip #3 Be a good listener: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to refuse to listen to other people’s ideas, opinions or advice. Even if you feel that you’ve prepared the perfect argument, there is almost always a different perspective that you’re not considering. Therefore, pause and listen (and don’t interrupt half way either). Being a good listener creates an open, two-way communication flow, instead of an environment where people must just do as you say.
Tip #4 Pay attention to nonverbal cues: In a face to face situation, communication goes far beyond just speaking and listening. A person’s body language can give you valuable insights into what’s going on in their head without them even uttering a word. Negative signs to look out for include folded arms, fidgeting and lack of eye contact. If either party is exhibiting any of these, you can be sure that the message is not being heard.
Tip #5 Question and be questioned: Questions are great for many reasons. For the speaker, it helps to get feedback and confirm people’s understanding. For the listener, it not only shows respect to the speaker, but also a real interest in the matter at hand.
Tip #6 Keep your cool: It’s important not to let your emotions get the better of you. Keep things cool, calm & conversational. Do not get defensive or confrontational if your message is not being heard or things are not going your way. Step away, analyse what went wrong, rework your approach and try again.
Tip #7 Repeat and summarise: The best way to remember something is to repeat it in your own words. Therefore, as a listener, be sure to voice your own summary of what you have heard. As a speaker, be sure to end any communication with a reiteration of the key points. That way your audience gets a final confirmation of the items that require the most focus.
Having trouble getting your message across? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Contact us today to find out how we can help.