In today’s world of instant communications, we cannot be bothered with learning effective communication techniques. I have met so-called entrepreneurs who substitute correct English Grammar with emoticons, abbreviations and short texts instead of developing the skills to express what they really mean to say. In fact, I think I am justified if I say that many present day entrepreneurs do not even know what communication skills is all about.
It is noteworthy however, that, many highly effective and well-to-do people understand the importance of communication skills, which is why some people enjoy success, while others continually encounter difficulties expressing themselves and understanding others.
Fortunately, there is still the chance to learn how to improve communication skills in our personal relationships, social interactions, and business activities. That is what I am about in this article.
Let me start by explaining communication skills simply as the ability to share ideas and feelings effectively without generating conflict, misunderstandings and mistrust.
Offhand, I can come up with about 10 communication skills. However, I will cover 5 of them for the purpose of this article; writing, speaking, negotiating, networking and body language.
Working as an HR officer for about 5 years, I saw some loaded resumes and good proposals being ignored because of poor writing skills and bad grammar.
If you send out a poorly written email, it might make you look bad and may deprive you of an opportunity to present your product to a prospective client. However, well-written emails, letters, articles, and the like are much more likely to get opened, read, shared, replied to, and remembered.
You do not need to be perfect, but you do need to check your work for errors (in spelling, grammar, and data). Utilize spell-check tools or even proofreaders (I am available at a little fee), particularly on your most important documents.
You might think that I am being too fussy about this, but in business it is a good idea to learn how to communicate using the written word in a way that is both concise and direct. This helps to ensure that there are fewer chances for readers to misinterpret your words.
If you are shy or get uncomfortable speaking to a large group, on stage, or into a microphone, it can damage your business and even your brand image. The more you speak, the better you become at it so you have to practice over and over again and you need to use every opportunity to improve.
Again, when speaking, say exactly what you mean and do not beat about the bush.
As an entrepreneur, you have to negotiate for almost everything in business, so the better you are at it, the better for you.
Be concerned about finding a solution or an arrangement that is satisfactory to both parties. Look for what are called “win-win” situations, where both parties are happy with the results of the negotiation.
“It’s not what you know, it’s all about who you know.” Heard that before? This common phrase in business holds true even today.
Social media might be a great platform to connect with people, but do not ignore the power of live events.
There is something about meeting people in person, shaking hands, and exchanging business cards. Just getting out of the office and catching up with someone over lunch can be very relaxing, while it’s also good for networking and building relationships.
Make an effort to develop strong long-term relationships withimportant connections.
Building relationship with potential clients and compatriots is very important. Attend seminars and other gatherings in connection with your line of business and when you do, be nice to people!
5. Body language
Most people make judgments about a person before they even speak a word. Having a strong presence whether on stage or in everyday life could be the difference between getting that big contract or losing it.
Remember, most people are rarely listening. So body language is probably more important than words.
Communication is a very important skill for business people. Besides all the other skills like marketing, sales, accounting etc., it’s also important to focus on this vital skill. Investing in good training programs or seminars can be very rewarding in the long term.
Ewura Adwoa Yeboah (Mrs.)