Meaningful communication can achieve great work, strong relationships and positive credibility.
By Karen Adamedes
Understanding and adapting your communication to the accepted style of business can have a substantial impact on your career potential, how much you enjoy your work and how your contributions are recognized.
Your interactions with others is the foundation of how you build and manage your image, reputation and relationships.
Communication is the mechanism of how work is done in organizations.
To work effectively and to manage your career these skills are vital.
Communication skills support your career by helping you get across:
- the value of what you do
- the contributions you make
- how well you are doing it
- what you need to do your job
- how you work with others
- the benefits for others of what you do
- who you are
9 Skills To Communicate
The 9 key skills that enable you to communicate effectively in business are your abilities to:
1. Choose your words
The words you use can help people understand what you actually mean – not what they think you mean.
It’s most effective to use words that are:
- solution focused
- problem solving
- to the point
Using words that are straightforward and commonly understood greatly increases the chance that what you mean when you say something is what the other person understands.
2. Be heard
It is a skill in itself to cut through the ‘noise’ of work so that what you say, the email that you send or the presentation that you make, is actually listened to, read or even heard. People are busy and have multiple competing priorities. The ability to get people to pause, pay attention or take the time to think about what you are saying is vital for your communication to have any impact.
To be heard requires the abilities to:
- speak with confidence
- order information so that you grab attention or create interest
- set expectations about your communication
- demonstrate that you know your stuff
- be clear and concise
- use analogies to paint visual pictures
- know what you want to say and say it
These abilities are necessary so that what you have to say will get a chance to be heard…then you have a chance of getting the outcome from the communication that you need!
Presentation skills are now a mandatory requirement in business. Whether using them to inform, influence or gain approval they are also the ideal forum to ‘sell’ your value and build your reputation.
When you are presenting you have center stage and should have the attention of the audience. The trick is to present in a way that will keep people off their smart phones and listening to you.
Knowing how to take advantage of your time in the spotlight includes:
- quality content
- objectives for your presentation
- knowledge of the needs of the audience
4. Write well
The ability to write well provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the very best of your knowledge, skills and expertise without any preconceptions.
It allows you to be persuasive, table your ideas, demonstrate your thinking, articulate your position, justify your recommendations or requests and be clear about what you ask for.
Writing well helps show your strengths and proficiency, get things done and positively builds your image and reputation.
5. Speak with your actions
The most powerful communications can happen without needing to speak or write a word.
Body language and non-verbal communications need to to show consistency with and reinforce what you say.
These skills can be developed by aligning your body language with your intent, being confident with your posture and gestures and a range of other actions from proactively shaking hands to being aware of your eye contact and other non-verbal signals.
There are many times when you need to work with key stakeholders who are impacted by what you do or whose approval you need. It can be time consuming to get people on board and explain what you’re doing and what it means to them – but it can fast track achieving business outcomes if you engage with each person from their perspective.
Genuine rapport and understanding can be built – and even if you don’t persuade them to your point of you – they will respect you and your approach.
These skills not only include what you say but how you say it, when you say it and sometimes the order that you conduct your communications with others.
Two ears, one mouth. Enough said. You know the drill.
Whether it’s to different audiences or through different mediums the skill to adapt is powerful for effective communication.
Knowing when to use the appropriate stories, style and messaging is a skill in itself. Being able to adapt these as appropriate will help you meet the needs of your audience and get your message across to them.
9. Ask questions
The most powerful tool of them all. Asking questions will help you find out information you may never have had otherwise, confirm what you know (and give you credibility that you asked) and even provide a subtle way of demonstrating what you know or how much you understand about a topic through the quality of your questions.
Meaningful communication is two-way, mutually beneficial with consistency in the messages and the needs of the other person or audience taken into consideration.
When it happens great work, strong relationships and positive credibility can all be achieved.
Career Tips To Go: Continue to develop your communication skills (always!)
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