5 Priceless Lessons in Business Communication Skills for Local Companies
A lack of good business communication skills can sink a business. In every relationship whether personal or business, being able to communicate effectively is important. Knowing how to relate your ideas to a diverse group is essential if you want to reach the desired outcome.
In business, leaders must be able to effectively express their goals and expectations. Communication has to flow from the decision makers to the managers to the employees, in a cohesive manner. A change in the message from the CEO to the employee can have a significant impact on a business.
Too often, it takes an issue involving a client for management to understand the message wasn't received correctly. Miscommunication can lead to a bad customer experience and has the potential to impact the bottom line of a small business
Continue reading for five lessons on how to communicate effectively in business.
1. Ensure the Same Message Reaches Everyone
Many students participate in the Telephone Game
during elementary school. Students are lined up side-by-side. The teacher shows the first student a phrase written on a piece of paper. The student then whispers what she read to the next student in line.
The goal of the exercise is to see if the last student in the line can accurately repeat what the teacher has written on the piece of paper. The students are rarely successful in relaying the original phrase.
- It is hard to understand when someone is whispering in your ear.
- A student who didn't clearly understand what was said can't ask for the message to be repeated.
- The students were not good listeners because they were easily distracted by noise and movement happening around them.
- Students felt a sense of urgency to tell the next person, so they didn't stop to ask if the message makes sense.
What to Take From the Exercise
Years later, the same poor listening skills spill over into professional interactions because basic communication skills are not learned. What the business world can take from this grade school lesson is this:
To convey a clear message you must speak with authority. People are more likely to listen to what a person is saying if they speak in a clear and concise manner. If you lack confidence in your delivery it will show.
Communication in business can be impeded if employees do not ask questions. When an individual doesn't feel empowered to ask questions they will rely on other devices to get answers. Oftentimes they ask another employee for clarity, which makes the matter worse if they too didn't fully understand the message.
Delivering an important message amid distractions means you don't have the full attention of your audience. When communicating with a customer, employee, or a group, do so in a calm neutral environment.
Delivering an important message that has to be assimilated to multiple groups should be planned out carefully. If possible, communicate the bigger message via email, and then host smaller Q & A sessions. Be sure to plan well in advance so the delivery isn't rushed.
2. Business Communication Skills Improve Work Relationships
A team that communicates effectively builds stronger work relationships. When everyone is on the same page and there are open lines of communication, it fosters a positive work environment.
Employees spend eight or more hours a day at their place of employment, not counting the time it takes to get there, and back home. The majority of your day should not be negatively impacting because of the atmosphere at work. The biggest energy killer in the workplace is the proverbial elephant in the room
Building good work relationships have benefits.
- Employees build a mutual respect for one another. When you trust your coworkers you are more apt to ask questions and exchange ideas.
- Knowing how to communicate effectively in business opens the door for team collaborations. Instead of forcing employees to co-exist on group projects they will welcome the opportunity.
- Effective communication promotes diversity in the workplace. Stereotypes have no place in business. Employers play a big role in communicating their expectation for the work environment.
It is easier for a small business owner to assess the relationships between employees to check for toxic behaviors. When conflicts arise, address them immediately.
3. Increase in Productivity
Poor communication can have a huge adverse reaction in the workplace. Being able to explain processes and procedures accurately drives the workflow. When the person receiving the information does not fully understand the calls to action, it impacts everyone.
Immediately after giving instructions, ask your team members is they fully understand their roles in the project. Do not accept simple yes or no responses. Ensure they are able to repeat back to you what it is you require of them.
If someone appears not to understand, have a one on one meeting to go through the assignment again.
Failing to acknowledge that someone has not fully understood what you are communicating, hurts that person and the entire team. Small business communications are more important because it may only be you and one or two other employees.
In large groups, others may pick up the slack when a team member doesn't really get it. In a smaller environment, the chances of miscommunication will have an immediate and direct impact on production.
Good communication between managers and employees is a huge driver in production. It goes both ways. As a business owner don't assume the breakdown in communication starts at the bottom of the org chart.
4. Better Conflict Resolution
It doesn't take much to ignite conflict in the workplace. Miscommunication can start with the use of one wrong word and cause a domino effect. Conflict is never good for business and if it reaches the client, it has the potential to ruin deals.
Promoting healthy conflict resolution
requires a different type of business communication skills. Conflict resolution is about turning down emotions and turning up listening.
Try these steps to resolve conflicts in the office:
- First, you must gain control of the situation. If it is posing a direct interaction with a client, tend to the needs of the client first.
- Second, take time to listen to all parties in individual settings. Once you have a clear understanding of the conflict devise a plan to address it.
-Third, bring the parties together in a neutral setting. Explain what you understand to be the problem. Ask the employees if your understanding is correct.
-Fourth, put forth your resolution to the conflict. Ensure all parties understand the resolution and any present and future calls to action.
-Last, a week later, reach out to the employees and the client to see if the matter has been fully resolved.
Don't look at conflicts in the workplace as a bad thing. Try to make each situation a learning opportunity. You will find that effective communication, over time, reduces the number of incidents.
5. Great Customer Experience
How your business communicates internally has a direct effect on your customer's experience. Large employers invest a lot of money in improving communication skills among employees. They understand how poor communication affects every aspect of the business.
As a small business, you may not have the financial resources to send employees to training conferences. This is no excuse for not equipping employees with the tools they need to effectively communicate.
Workplace etiquette is a form of business communication. We've heard the term, the customer is always right. This is not always true, but you have to communicate with the client so they walk away believing they were.
When employees work as a team, they can resolve conflict as a team. They support each other through tough situations and don't mind stepping in when there is an issue with an external source.
Here is how communication skills lead to great customer experiences:
-Always treat employees with respect, regardless of how they are behaving.
-If you cannot resolve a conflict, seek the assistance of a colleague who may have more authority to offer a different solution.
-Apologize for the misunderstanding and thank the customer for their business. This way the customer leaves on a high note
-Take a few minutes to regroup so you are prepared to provide the next customer with awesome service.
These tips are beneficial whether the customer is in person or on the phone. Knowing you have internal support can drastically reduce the stress of dealing with conflict.
We've Enjoyed Bringing You These Five Lessons
Nothing kills a business faster than poor customer service. Often we think of customer service as the business to client relationship. Business owners are no recognizing that employees are their first customers.
Business communication skills are not hard to achieve. Small business owners can create their own no-cost workshops using these simple lessons.
Give it shot and let us know if you see a difference in the overall atmosphere of your business.
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