You notice a long pause…., or someone doesn’t respond to an email you have sent out. Perhaps you get a strange look from the person you are speaking to. Most people have come across this at some point in a business meeting, or interview, or when reaching out to someone by email.
While you can’t always control the response you get when doing business with others, there are some ways you can minimize those awkward moments and improve your communication skills in the workplace.
Communication seems like a simple idea, in fact, we do it daily. The problem is, we can easily fall into traps when dealing with people outside of our own circles. I want to share 4 tips to help you learn effective communication skills, and avoid those traps as much as possible.
Avoid Slang and Text Speech
Be careful of using slang and/or text speech when communicating in a business setting.
I know, I know, the world is run by millennials now, and that is how we communicate. The problem is, there are still many people out there who don’t take to the new speech trends.
When speaking to a client, possible employer, or any other person you plan to work with, it is important to remember the etiquette of business speech. Whether you are writing an email, talking on the phone, or meeting with someone one-on-one, being careful of your words is important.
For example, which of these two options do you think will get a better response?
- Hey man, we are crushing these #s. BTW, I think we are awesome enough to double next month!
- Our sales numbers have steadily increased this month. In fact, if we keep this momentum up, we may be able to double the profits next month.
( I realize this may be somewhat of a bad example, but it gives you the idea.)
Just keep in mind that throwing around too many slang terms or using text speech in a business setting can turn some people off from you. You want to make sure you are communicating effectively, including making your words as clear as possible.
Avoid Unnecessarily Big Words
On the other side of the spectrum, being overly pretentious will do you no favors. This goes back to speaking as clearly as possible.
Some people, trying to sound more professional, will seek the depths to find largely antiquated words. While this is a great way to increase vocabulary, it is usually unnecessary in business settings. Common words work just as well, if not better when trying to get your point across.
With both these tips the point is simple. If you want someone to take you seriously, be precise and authoritative as possible. Write or speak clearly to ensure your audience understands your meaning.
Listening is a Top Priority
Listen! Make sure you hear what the other person is saying to you. This sounds obvious, but too often we are thinking about what we want to say next. This can keep us from communicating effectively.
Let’s say you have a product you want to sell.
You have all these great ideas of how it can be useful to person in front of you. You have your talking points in your head, ready to spout off the need for this product.
But let’s say this person doesn’t see those same things as important. They want to address a different problem, or they see another possible benefit of your product.
If you don’t stop to hear these ideas from the other person, they will not care what you have to say. Listen to what is important to them. If you give them that courtesy, and address their expressed needs, they will be more willing to hear the other great benefits later.
Make sure you hear what is most important to them!
Be Willing to Learn from the Other Person
Be willing to learn from others. Don’t just assume you know everything. Even if you are knowledgeable in your topic, chances are the other person believes they are as well. Besides, no matter how smart you are, there’s always room to grow.
This is very similar to the previous tip. You may be an expert on your chosen field, but spending your time trying to convince others of this fact, without being willing to take in feedback, is detrimental to your ability to convince them of anything.
Do they want someone who knows what they are talking about?
Most likely, yes.
They also want someone who realizes they don’t know everything.
Be willing to take advice, and remember we always have room to learn something new.
If you want further or more in-depth tips on communication, I highly recommend reading (or listening to)
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
You might also be interested in this article on effective online communication. Remember, communication is an important aspect of succeeding in business.
Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments.