How to Improve Business Communication Skills
Effective business communication is all about sharing information well, both internally and externally. Learning how to communicate better can help build confidence when sharing ideas, mitigate conflict and, ultimately, ensure that your messages are clear and concise – and that people will act on them.
Why is business communication so important?
Communicating well is an essential skill in every part of our lives, but is particularly important when it comes to businesses who want to thrive.
Communication skills are the number one quality that employers look for – and for good reason.
Here are six reasons why good business communication is so important:
1. It ensures accuracy of information
Learning how to communicate effectively means that you can ensure that your messages and ideas are shared as accurately as possible. This is especially important when it comes to communicating externally.
Business communication training can help you to find the story behind your business or the information that you’re sharing, and to be clear and concise about what your message is.
When the information that you share is accurate and clear, you’re much more likely to have better engagements with clients, customers or stakeholders.
2.It helps to build trust
Good communication is essential when it comes to building trust, both within your business and externally.
By learning how to communicate more effectively, you understand how to carefully craft your messages so that they are audience-focused, ensuring that the people you speak to understand your intentions, context and are clear about any actions required.
3. It helps you deal with conflict
Better conversations help us to deal with conflict. Improving listening skills and learning how to deal with objections in an empathetic manner can help to defuse any situations of tension and develop office cultures which are more collaborative.
4. It improves wellbeing
Good business communication is essential to promoting good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. By encouraging teams to listen to one another and to better articulate their thoughts and feelings, staff are better equipped to share ideas, collaborate freely and to speak up if they have any problems or concerns.
This will help boost a team’s morale and engagement with their work, leading to a more productive work environment.
5. It helps you get the results you deserve
The better you can communicate, the more likely you are to share your ideas clearly and persuasively, allowing you to make more of an impact with your business.
Excellent business communicators know how to structure their presentations, conversations and emails to make them more concise, compelling and with clear, timed action points – helping you to get the results you deserve.
6. It helps you become more confident
Many people will secretly admit that they don’t really feel confident: they may suffer from impostor syndrome in their role, or feel nervous or anxious before a big meeting or presentation.
This is normal, but can restrict us from reaching our full potential. Part of business communication involves learning how to communicate more assertively and to look confident on the outside, even if you don’t feel it on the inside.
How has business communication evolved?
Business communication has evolved significantly over the last thirty years as technology has enabled faster, more efficient ways of sharing information.
Even as recently as the 1990s, most companies’ communication was based on telephone calls and letter writing.
Over the years that followed, email and internet use became more widespread, offices became paperless, mobile phones became smarter and the ability to communicate quickly and easily grew. Programs such as PowerPoint and Keynote have given everyone the ability to create presentations and to share their ideas with ease.
Although it was invented in the 1980s, video conferencing really exploded in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, when businesses were forced to find ways of uniting teams who were having to work from home.
As the pandemic gradually eases, many companies are retaining a hybrid approach to their business communication, equipping staff with the technology to communicate with impact from anywhere in the world, as well as setting up video conferencing-enabled offices.
However, the evolution of technology is only part of the equation: although it gives us a wealth of options when it comes to deciding how to communicate, businesses and individuals need to go further in order to ensure their messages are engaging, impactful and clear.
Business communication training can help you to identify the best way to engage people via different media: e.g. writing persuasive emails, preparing impactful slides and facilitating hybrid or virtual meetings that are both inclusive and productive.
How to improve business communication
Making the decision to improve your business communication skills can reap huge benefits. Working with a business communication coach will help you to hone your abilities in the following areas:
Developing your emotional intelligence
A large part of successful business communication involves recognising your own emotions and those of others; in other words, developing your emotional intelligence. Understanding emotions can help to guide your own thinking and behaviour, build healthy relationships and make better choices for your business.
Becoming more empathetic can help you to understand your colleagues’ needs better and better equip you to resolve any situations of conflict, too.
Structuring your messages
How much time do you really take when it comes to planning your messages or updates?
More often than not, people start planning presentations or team meetings by thinking of the information that they want to share – but this isn’t good communication: it’s just passing on facts.
A business communication coach can teach you to structure your messages so that you can engage with your audience on an emotional level as well as logically, which will make you more likely to get the results you want.
Pay attention to body language
Even when we’re not speaking, we all give out non-verbal signals which communicate our feelings to others and can be incredibly influential – in both good ways and bad!
Learning about body language can vastly improve your business communication. What is your body language saying to others? What can you learn from other people’s body language? When you can make your body language congruent with your message, you can become much more influential in your communication.
Adopt the 7Cs of effective communication
In their 1952 book, Effective Public Relations, Scott Cutlip and Allen Center described effective communication as having ‘7Cs’: completeness (providing everything that an audience needs); conciseness (not using more words or time than necessary to explain an idea); consideration (focusing on the audience’s needs); concreteness (vivid and specific, rather than obscure); clarity (ensuring your message is clear and easily understandable); courtesy (considering others’ feelings), and; correctness (ensuring any message is true and accurate).
These seven Cs provide an effective checklist against which good communication can be measured.
Become a better communicator
Even those who feel very confident in their business communication skills can benefit from coaching to take them to the next level.
A business communication coach will be able to work with you to analyse your communication style and give tips and suggestions on areas in which you can flex further and improve.
It could be that there are parts of your body language or speaking style that are not serving you as well as they could: a communication coach can help spot those and give you tips on how you can harness the range of styles, gestures and intonation to allow you to choose exactly the right delivery for the message you need to give.
And just like any skill, the more you practise, the better you will become. Whether it’s learning how to structure a compelling business presentation, or role playing through objection handling, a communication coach can help you to improve and get the most out of your conversations.
Get in touch
We’d love to help you with your business communication. Get in touch with us today for a conversation about what we can do to help you develop your skills.