Every day, business professionals communicate with everyone from co-workers to managers, business partners, suppliers, employees, customers and others. Communication is critical not only for your personal career, but also for the success of your business as a whole. Whether in person, over the phone, via email or on social media, the way you communicate will inevitably influence the perception of your brand. Regardless of who you are interacting with, there are some universal tips that are applicable and beneficial for you business communication. Let us see what those are.
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1. Listen and Pay Attention
Many people prefer phone or digital communication, such as texting or email, but there are times when face-to-face communication is preferable and beneficial. For example, when you are hiring a new employee, direct interaction during the interview is critical. It fosters improved understanding of what is being said, and it generates trust between both parties. When you are communicating with another person, keep in mind that your body language and tone of voice can convey a considerable amount of information. Therefore, you should consider focused eye contact, nodding and a friendly smile.
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Make the conversation your top priority, and tune out other thoughts that may be crossing your mind. The conversation with the other person should be the only thing you are thinking about so that you can actively listen and pay attention. Your focus in written communication is also important, so you should pay attention to the context of the messages and respond accordingly. Ensure that all questions are answered and all topics brought up in the original message are commented. Finally, pay attention to unique points about the other person, such as their preferences, favorites, birth dates and other relevant details that can help you build personal rapport and establish a relationship.
- Show Respect
One of the top factors that can make or break communication with others relates to respect – you can really turn someone off if they think you are being rude in some way. For all forms of communication, pay attention to standard rules of etiquette and manners. Regardless of whom you are talking to or the nature of the message, respect is important. Avoid saying anything that could be construed as being arrogant or condescending.
In correspondence, reread your texts and emails before sending them to ensure that the message conveys the right information and a professional tone. Remember that misunderstandings in communication are common, so remain non-confrontational and calm in all situations. If a legitimate issue arises, allow the other person to state their case without interrupting them. Listen to their side attentively, and address your side when they are done. Whatever you are discussing, you will come across as a fair and considerate person if you show respect.
3. Communicate Clearly
When speaking or writing to others, you should tailor communication to suit the audience. For example, avoid using professional or industry jargon when talking to a customer, but you may use technical terms when speaking with an industry partner or supplier. Remember that your messages need be understood clearly, so avoid vagueness and share details when necessary. However, too much detail can be a detriment in some cases – be concise to help your audience avoid losing interest in what you are saying. Another important thing is to always ask clarifying questions during conversation so as to avoid potential misunderstandings.
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4. Be Professional and Pleasant
Being professional will go a long way in all types of communication and make people trust your competence. What you need to do to come across as a real professional is pay attention to both form and content. This means that you should both have sufficient business knowledge and be able to express it adequately. For example, nobody will think highly of your abilities if you overuse conversation fillers such as “like“ or “uhm“, or if your emails are full of typos and grammar mistakes. Therefore, you should always try to sound eloquent, as well as proofread your written messages.
However, being professional does not mean you should be overly formal and rigid – nobody enjoys talking to a robot. Instead, convey your professionalism in a friendly and approachable way so that others will perceive you as a pleasant person. Always be friendly, smile, and try to amuse people you are communicating with.
- Keep the Conversation Alive
Communication often involves an on-going dialog rather than a static or one-time conversation. To have a successful business, it is important to keep the communication alive – with co-workers and employees, with business partners, with customers.
Inside your company, use an open door policy to ensure that others feel comfortable meeting you. Encourage your co-workers and team members to communicate openly, and be a role model in this area by explaining everything to them, such as new projects and policies. Instant messenger, regular meetings and other efforts are also effective in the company. With your business partners, focus on building relationships with birthday cards, holiday greetings and congratulations on their achievements. Last but not least, never fail to properly communicate with your customers – they are the ones who determine the success of your business. Therefore, make sure to provide exceptional customer service and apply effort to engage them as much as you can. This includes many things, such as paying attention to what they are saying, responding to their inquiries promptly and efficiently, showing empathy for their position, and many more.
All people in your business surroundings are equally important, so make sure to keep all types of communication alive.
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Communication is critical to your personal level of success, as well as to the development of your brand. Therefore, you should always try to hone your communication skills through both experience and deliberate effort. By applying these tips, you can become a better communicator with whom others gladly communicate. This can foster happiness with partners, employees and customers that could ultimately lead to new business opportunities, greater efficiency in the workplace, and repeat business from your customers. The better business communication, the more business growth – sounds like a pretty good deal.
BIO: Natalie Smith, a Seattle-based freelance writer and copywriter, enjoys writing about marketing, social media, and customer service. She is also an ardent follower of the new trends in the business world, as well as on the Internet. You can reach her on Twitter: @Natalie1014