Published May 2017
Communication plays a fundamental role in the success of a business. Whether you're selling your skills to a potential client, training a colleague or sharing your business goals with your staff; getting the message right makes a real difference in the ultimate outcome. Communication skills are therefore pretty essential in helping you to get your message across clearly. This is why effective communication should be a key focus when recruiting and training your staff. To help you get it right, here are 12 secrets of effective communication:
1) Schedule and Prepare Thoroughly: The key to communicating effectively is to work out what you want to say, who you need to say it to, how you want to say it and how long that will take. If you're clear about the purpose of the communication you can set an agenda in advance helping to prevent you from going off topic or wasting time.
2) Be Clear and Concise: Time is precious, so make sure that you get your message across in a clear and concise way. Cut out jargon and complex language. By using plain English you ensure that your message is heard, avoiding confusion or misinterpretation later on.
3) Tailor your Approach: Different people have different learning styles so it's important you tailor your approach. If your colleague prefers to talk in person, schedule a meeting. If your CEO has limited time available prepare an elevator pitch.
4) Ask the Right Questions: Rather than making assumptions and misinterpreting what a client or team member is thinking, why not simply ask. Asking questions shows that you're interested in the other person and enables you to tailor your approach to get to the core issue more quickly.
5) Build Trust: If you can build trust and rapport with your colleagues and clients it will greatly improve the way in which you communicate with those individuals. People are more likely to respond positively to someone they get on with and establishing team spirit and engaging employees can have a significant impact on success.
6) Get the Tone Right: In most scenarios it is helpful to adopt a more conversational tone when communicating. This helps to put the other person at ease and encourages open and honest interaction. You should avoid becoming emotional or argumentative as this can lead to confrontation and can damage relationships.
7) Don't forget to Pause and Listen: It sounds obvious, but part of great communication is actively listening. By taking a pause you give the other person a chance to respond. This shows respect and enables you to fully understand their position and point of view so you can respond more effectively
8) Meet in Person: Whilst email is a very effective tool for communicating it is often overused which means important messages can get missed amongst the email traffic. By meeting in person you can also convey tone more effectively as well as responding to non-verbal cues allowing you to tailor your approach if required.
9) Try a New Setting: If you’re struggling to communicate with your team or if you’re faced with uncertainty and change then taking your team out of the office can really improve things. It's amazing how much a different setting can affect the way individuals act, allowing staff to be more open and honest
10) Address Problems: Ignoring issues allows problems to escalate causing greater damage to personal and business relationships. By identifying and addressing concerns early on and by effectively communicating with those involved you can diffuse the situation and reach a resolution more quickly.
11) Follow Up in Writing: Whilst face-to-face, telephone and video calls are great tools for communication it's often important to retain a record of what has been discussed and agreed. It doesn't need to be lengthy just a summary of the action points will help ensure you are all on the same page.
12) Ask for Feedback: As with any skill it's important to continue to review your approach. The easiest way to assess how you're getting on and to identify opportunities to improve is to ask for feedback. Try talking to colleagues or sending a short survey as a follow up to your meeting.
If you're looking to improve communication skills or to arrange a conference, meeting or away day, get in touch. Our team building activities are designed to improve core business skills, build trust and get groups working together more effectively.