Posted: Wed 5th Sep 2012
How much is it worth to you? Probably more than you think. But how much attention do you pay to your personal communication skills?
Think about this for a moment. You've no doubt thought carefully about how you phrase your website and your marketing materials and considered the message you want to communicate and the image you want to portray when doing so. You've probably put a lot of effort into being clear, concise, persuasive and conveying your business personality. But are you reinforcing that by doing the same with all the other forms of direct communication you employ each day? For, despite the wide role websites and ecommerce play in modern business, most of us still do most of our business personally. That's not just face-to-face either; but via tweets, Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, videoconferencing, and so on. Every time you write a tweet, for example, it has an impact on how you and your business are perceived. Every time you have a conversation with a supplier or employee, it has an impact on your ability to operate effectively. Every time you attend a meeting, you have an opportunity to fulfil a business goal. How confident are you that your ability to explain, persuade, negotiate, instruct and present are good enough for you to get what you want out of all of these 'personal' communications?
From using the right channel at the right time to picking the right words and even using positive body language in meetings (yes, it sends out a message), there are a lot of facets to successful communication in business. The chances are you're already doing it pretty well; but over the next six months, we're going to be looking at the fundamentals of good communication in a series of fortnightly posts sponsored by Brother under the title of Be seen and heard. Among other things, we'll consider the principles of effective communication, negotiation skills, meeting conduct, persuasiveness and presentation skills. We'll offer insights into what works, as well as tips on how to develop your communication skills so you can get the most out of your connections with the people you do business with. In the meantime, here are ten reasons why we think good communication can make a difference to your success in business. Photo credit: Howard Lake
1. Better, more trusting, relationships: with customers, suppliers, employees. 2. Simple clarity: misunderstandings can be extremely costly - to both your reputation and your bottom line. 3. People know what you want from them: a reluctance to ask or tell people what you want from them is at the bottom of a lot of poor communication. But if they don't know what you want, how can they deliver or negotiate their position with you? 4. Improved profile: if you're a good communicator, more people will know you are there and listen to what you have to say. 5. A stronger business image: the way you communicate is integral to the way people perceive your business.Â If they feel you are clear, consistent and honest, they will think more highly of you - even if they're making a complaint or trying to beat you down on a deal. 6. Better deals for your business: there's an art to negotiation, and much of it is based on straightforward, clear and assertive communication. 7. Better personal performance: having confidence about what you want to say and how to say it can have an enormous effect on how well you perform generally - not least in your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate better outcomes for your business. 8. Better results from others: if your expectations are clearly stated and your feedback is accurate, reasonable and delivered at the right time, you'll find that the people you're paying to work for you will deliver more for your business. 9. People trust you: if they trust you, they trust your business, its products and its services. They will be more willing to do business with you; they will work harder for you; they will buy more from you. 10. You can punch above your weight: effective, professional and technology-aided communication can allow you to act like a bigger business - and go for bigger business, too. Quite simply, good communication is at the heart of good business practice. Stay tuned! Simon Wicks, Enterprise Nation editor
Be seen and heard is supported by Brother, the technology company for small and medium-sized businesses. Brother can help businesses of all sizes communicate like big enterprises with OmniJoin, the new high-end webconferencing software at a small business price. Free trials are available here.