Communication is a critical skill for anyone in any business setting. It doesn’t matter whether you aspire to grow your own corporate empire or you are happy working as an employee; if you can’t communicate effectively with those around you, you won’t find any sort of success.
Unfortunately, being able to use language is not exactly the same as communicating. In fact, there are plenty of ways you might be communicating incorrectly, which could be debilitating your business opportunities. If you suspect that your business communication skill might be lacking, you might consider enrolling in a strategic communication course after you check your communication style for the following issues:
Time is money, so the more time it takes to communicate, the more money your business could possibly stand to lose. Unfortunately, inefficiencies in communication often result in wasted time, as parties involved go back and forth struggling to understand what is being said. Worse, inefficiencies in communication can lead to inefficiencies elsewhere, costing even more time and money. With every business message, you should strive to be efficiently concise, considering your audience and adapting your language for maximum clarity.
Speaking of clarity, vague business jargon has plagued organizations for decades. Language that lacks or obscures meaning might make some communicators feel more comfortable; sometimes, it feels like vague language hides intentions and protects communicators from arousing dangerous emotions. However, vagueness more often wastes time by requiring more communication to share the same amount of information. To avoid being vague, you should practice these communication tricks:
- Lead with your main point
- Avoid jargon and slang
- Be succinct
There is an important distinction to make between being unknowledgeable on a particular topic and being ignorant. No one knows everything; it is not a communication sin to admit that you don’t know something and ask for more information. However, if you demonstrate ignorance — that is, if you flaunt your unawareness or communicate stupidly, rudely, immaturely or otherwise inappropriately — you won’t be able to recover respect.
To prevent ignorance from driving your communication, you should avoid using words or phrases you don’t understand, and you should stay out of conversations involving topics you don’t know much about. If you must confront your ignorance, you should strive to be calm, kind and open-minded.
It is human to have feelings, but in business, most experts advise against becoming emotional. Typically, when you experience emotions during a conversation, you will react rather than respond to what other parties are saying. Reactions tend to provoke more reactions, which rarely lead to any kind of positive or productive resolution. Though it is impossible to eliminate your emotions entirely while you are at work, you can slow down your communication and strive to respond thoughtfully in a way that allows the maintenance of professionalism in business.
Many people in business — leaders, especially — tend to develop the bad habit of talking much more than they listen, believing that what they need to talk about is much more important than what others might have to say. Unfortunately, being long winded generally deprives business leadership of interesting perspectives and compelling ideas from employees who can’t get a word in edgewise. Learning how to listen is one of the more difficult practices in business communication, but if you take the time to focus on what others are saying and how they are saying it, you will become a much better communicator.
Not everything in business is peaches and cream, but that doesn’t mean you should point out the negative at every opportunity. While having a realistic worldview can help prepare you for business failures, being negative will only serve to bring down morale for you and everyone around you. Low morale results in low productivity, which means poor outcomes for your business. You don’t have to have toxic positivity in the workplace, but you should strive to be friendly, avoid negative words and focus on what can be done rather than what is impossible.
Business communication isn’t rocket science, but it is a bit more complex than many give it credit. With the right training and practice, you can develop an impeccable communication style that allows you and your business to find success.