In order to be successful in the business you’re dealing with, it is important to maintain good business relations, and good communication skills are an essential element of that. No matter how good you are at your job, if your communication skills are poor, your business relationships may not be as successful. So, it is important to understand the value of communication skills and improve them. But you need to work on it.
1. Don’t let business discussions get out of control
When under pressure, people usually become frustrated and they sometimes say things they are not supposed to say to people they work with. In that case, the ‘attacked’ person usually feels the need to counterattack, and this system leads to nothing good. You need to keep your feelings and situation in check and not let them get out of control, and instead of attacking other people’s behavior or judgments, you should stay calm and try to resolve a conflict in a productive and peaceful manner.
2. Give your attention
If you’re speaking with a colleague or a business partner and it’s clear that you’re thinking about something completely unrelated to the topic of your conversation, you will look uninterested (and maybe you are), and you will show poor communication skills. Instead of letting your mind wander off, you should listen when someone is talking to you and devote your attention to what that person is talking about. That way, you will show that you are interested and you’ll grow a little in the eyes of the person you’re speaking with. Also, make sure you’re really listening and you understand the meaning of what the other person is saying. The way someone speaks and uses body language often says more than their words.
3. Meet in person
Today, much of all business conversation happens through email or phone, and that can be a real time saver. However, emailing, texting or speaking over phone sometimes isn’t good enough, and it is better to meet with the person(s) you’re about to cooperate with (or already are). Talking in person is still the best communication method, and you should do it whenever you have the chance.
4. Focus your speech
Business communication differs from everyday conversation, and you can’t just say what pops into your mind. You should carefully think about what and how you’re going to say something before you say it. Stay on point as much as possible, and avoid cluttering your speech with ‘umms’.
Make sure you don’t get easily distracted from what you wanted to say, because you’re there for a reason- to get across a certain point and make some sort of a deal. Don’t let your train of thought derail.
5. Maintain professional boundaries
It is fine to become friendly with people you’re working with, but you shouldn’t let business relationships become too personal. You’re in the world of business after all, and the key to keeping good business relationships is to know the boundaries and stick with them, or in other words- stay professional. That, however, doesn’t mean that you should be unfriendly – you can be polite and friendly without becoming unprofessional and too personal.
6. Respect others
Telling and ordering your colleagues or business associates to do things won’t get you anywhere good. You should show others that you respect them, and you can do that by asking others for advice and asking them (not ordering or telling) to do something. This also shows that you regard that person as an equal, while telling usually means that you feel that you’re superior to them.
7. Offer advice
When you think your advice would be useful, offer it. But you should know the difference between ‘offer’ and ‘give’. You should learn how to offer advice to people that you’re doing business with without forcing your opinions on them. According to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Department of Economics, it is always better to say “what do you think about this way,” or “I suggest we….” than saying “this is what you should do.”
8. Treat your emails as a real means of communication
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t read emails from the beginning to the end, but just scanning the text to see whether there is something that interests you, and if you’re writing emails that are informal (as if you were writing to your friend or spouse), you need to change that. Business communication is still business communication, even if it is via email. You need to stay professional, and, of course, formal when talking to business partners, associates, clients or whomever in your business world. Letting things get informal can be a big mistake. Of course, you also need to stay polished and polite no matter the topic of the conversation.
When it comes to business communication via email, it is logical that you shouldn’t use colloquialisms, emoticons or slang, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it. The language you use in digital business communication should be direct and clear, so that a person reading what you wrote can understand without any further explanation what you wanted to say.
9. Motivate others
Both negative and positive reinforcement can be effective, but positive reinforcement such as praise, giving more income or trust can bring better results in the long run, and it can definitely improve your business communication.