Communication is an essential attribute of humanity. It makes or breaks relationships, marriages, career dreams and other things we hold dear. In the business world, it plays a role that is no less pivotal, laying the groundwork for great teamwork, peak productivity, and lasting business relationships. Considering all this, it is quite surprising how many organizations and leaders manage to underestimate its potential or misunderstand the elements that constitute it.
Pulling the weight
Being a good communicator does not revolve around talent and gift. It is a thing of constant practice and persistent effort and attention. Communicating just for the sake of it and handling it effectively are two practices that are worlds apart. People share information and express their feelings and thoughts in multifarious ways and while business communication is a bit more structured and formal, it is still rooted in the psychological and emotional workings of our brain.
Alas, the lack of capacity to communicate on the managers’ and CEOs’ part is the culprit behind numerous business fizzles. Thus, one has to put together an effective communication network and atmosphere, the mainstays of the daily functioning of a company. The similar principles apply to both internal and external communication, so there are no excuses: you cannot allow errors, misinterpretation and lack of permanence stand in the way of your goals.
Style and substance
First off, pay close attention to the style of information sharing and the flow of communication (vertical, horizontal, diagonal). Note that communication should always be a two-way street: on one side, we have the good old talking and on the other the art of listening. It all starts with setting clear expectations and coming up with a set of rules. It is clear that open communication is the essence of a conducive work environment and corporate culture.
After all, the leadership skills are interwoven with the ability to build relationships with others. When employees have a sense that they are valued and understood, they are inclined to give it their best. Kind words do not cost much, but they do make a big difference. Contrary to that, looking down on others and cracking a whip is never a good idea. These tactics bring temporary and volatile results. In fact, they eventually lead to a toxic and stress-plagued environment.
Open communication is the only option to ramp up motivation, solve conflicts, alleviate tension and keep everyone on the same page. In the process, you are also able to gather a great deal of feedback and use it to fine-tune operations, means of communication and interpersonal relations. Also, it should be mentioned that communication skills affect how successful you will be in closing deals. Every tool imaginable to make this happen is at your disposal.
Tools of the trade
Choosing the right communication channels is important for getting your messages and point of view across. Sometimes a face-to-face conversation is a way to go, at other times, it makes more sense to compose a group email, and there are also instances in which creating a professional PowerPoint presentation is the best way to share ideas and achieve goals. There is no one-size fits all solutions, just principles that facilitate effective communication.
The best shot you have, though, is to combine traditional means of communication, such as telephone discourse and conversation, with digital tools in the league of messaging apps, video-conferencing tools, and business collaboration platforms. Such an integrated approach enables companies to pack their messages well and distribute them successfully, across different time zones, market segments, and spatial borders.
Rules of the game
One of the main rules is to adjust your message to the level and experience of your audience. It pays off to factor in elements such as cultural background, language barriers, daily habits, preferred channels, personality traits, etc. Therefore, try to put yourself in the other person’s place. You can also rely on the 7 C’s of business communication: concise, complete, conversational, clear, considerate, confident, and check.
Finally, bear in mind that the bulk of what you are trying to say is not conveyed via words, but facial expressions and body language (55%) and the tone of the voice (37%). So, HOW you do it also matters. Hence, one often has to communicate in order to be understood and for better or worse, we are likely never to be separated from the weight our words and soft skills bear, especially when they have decisive consequences for business organizations and careers.
Pillars of greatness
To neglect communication is to undermine the whole structure your organization is built on. So, how much do you talk and in what fashion? Do your messages resonate with your audience? It might be the time to shape up or ship out. Promote meaningful and trusting relationships with employees, partners, stakeholders, and customers. Always get to know the people with whom you are interacting. There is hardly a better way to boost customer, client and employee satisfaction, and ultimately spur a sustainable business growth.