Communication is part and parcel of life. We all communicate in different contexts everyday. However, there were perhaps situations in the past where you felt that your communication created nothing but blank looks and awkward silences. And you wondered what went wrong. While an evaluation should provide an answer to this concern, note that there are some specific business communication skills necessary for successful communication. This article focuses on 8 communication skills you should master.
You must have the ability to stop and listen to the views of others. This demonstrates that you value your audience and their thoughts. Be ready to repeat what you have just said and allow the audience to ask you questions for clarification. In other words, don’t be a speaker only, be a good listener too.
A fundamental question in writing is who the readers are. Are you writing to the employees in your department? Are you writing to someone outside your organisation? Written communication should be brief, but certainly informative. You need to ensure that the readers can understand your message clearly. So, avoid any ambiguity to make your message crystal clear. You may sometimes need to use reliable data and relevant examples to support your thoughts and arguments.
The ability to talk to others to exchange information and ideas in a clear manner is extremely important in communication. So, be specific and don’t prolong the conversation unnecessarily! Remember your voice can reveal a lot about your personality. Hesitancy in your voice may indicate that your level of self-esteem is low. Therefore, demonstrate your confidence with the command of your voice and the contents of your speech.
As a professional, you are often expected to read a variety of documents. So, have patience as reading requires a considerable amount of time. Don’t forget to read the executive summary of a report as it gives you a clear idea about the report. Don’t rush in reading as you may risk of misinterpreting the information.
Corporate presentations usually last between 5 and10 minutes. You have to make your case heard and convincing with a very short time. So, be specific and engage your audience in the presentation. Don’t keep on reading from PowerPoint slides. It shows your inability to explain and analyse information. Good presenters make their presentation lively and engaging with the use of relevant data, images, news, short videos, examples etc.
Negotiation refers to a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement (Soanes, 2002). You may need to negotiate with your employees, suppliers, customers and others for many reasons. What is important in negotiation is to understand that all parties involved will push for an outcome in their favour. Therefore, negotiations sometimes become very challenging. Perhaps, reaching a win-win solution may convince all sides.
Networking is possibly one of the most important skills for entrepreneurs. It involves building and maintaining contacts and relationships with other people (University of Cambridge 2017). You need to reach out to people to expand your networks. However, you need to be reliable and interesting enough to draw people near to you. The networks that you develop over time are an extremely useful resource for any entrepreneurial activity.
You need to be a team player as most of the jobs are now-a-days done through teamwork. People working in teams demonstrate different ideas and different ways of work. Therefore, you need to put your personal differences aside and work towards achieving a shared goal. You may disagree to the ideas of others, however, a willingness to co-operate with them and work to the greater good is essential.
The list above touches on 8 important business communication skills. Whether you are a manager or an entrepreneur, you need to have these skills. However, don’t be disheartened if you are not very good at all of them. Identify the skills you need to improve on and draw a plan. Have patience and do some practice. Remember ‘practice makes perfect’.
The article publication date: 10 March 2017
Little, P. (1990) Communication in business, 3rd edition, UK: Pitman
Soanes, K. (2002) Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, 9th edition, New York: OUP
The University of Cambridge (2017) Networking Skills, available at https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/entrepreneurship/resources/networking-skills/ (Accessed 08 March 2017)
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Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He is a graduate of both Leeds Metropolitan University and London South Bank University.