Six Essential Business Communication Skills You Need to Master

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1. Listening:

Improving your listening skills will build trust because when others feel understood it makes them feel special, important and that you genuinely care about them. Those feelings equate to having them feel they can trust you. There is no greater need for human beings than to feel heard and understood. Enhancing your ability to listen also eliminates misunderstandings, improves productivity, reduces redos, increases the likelihood that the results will be what you want, all leading to happier relationships and more fun. And who doesn’t want that?

2. Social media Followers:

You should focus on adding followers who are actually interested in your offerings, using targeted keywords. This limits the amount of people that will be added at any one time.

3. Paying Attention:

This means not thinking about your next meeting or what you need to do. It means totally being present to the conversation without your mind distracting you in a million different directions. And don’t respond to emails while you are on the phone with someone! Studies show that people overestimate their ability to multi-task. Don’t half participate in the conversation. If the timing isn’t good for you to have a conversation when you have too many things going on, try to reschedule it.

4. Presenting to a Group:

Audiences tend to be sympathetic. They respect anyone who does get up in front of an audience. So if someone “messes up” a word or a slide and has to correct themselves, this actually could be a plus. The audience roots for the underdog, sees you as a human, not as some smooth talking speaker, and actually may identify with you more and actually listen more closely. There is such a thing as being too “slick”. A good speaker has to maintain that “Aw Shucks” attitude too.

5. Understanding Assumptions:

Sometimes misunderstandings arise when the person we are speaking with is operating from their own set of unspoken assumptions. Understanding what those assumptions are can go a long way toward smoother relationships. Be curious and gently ask some open-ended questions to discover what they might be assuming.

6. Twitter – Give and Take:

Are you consistently “tweeting?” Twitter doesn’t appreciate users who aggressively follow others, yet don’t add anything to the community. Make sure you are active, and posting valuable content.

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Improve Your Communication – Say What You Mean

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By: Clare Evans

For me, communication is important to many things in life. Particularly in the relationships we have with the people around us at work and at home.

How often do we misinterpret what’s been said or done, just because we don’t know how to communicate properly? Making assumptions based on our own, perhaps narrow perspective and not taking into account what other people might be feeling or thinking.

How to communicate is something we learn early on in life and if we don’t know how to do it properly or we get it wrong, it can lead to poor communication throughout the rest of our life. We fall into bad habits, feel uncomfortable having difficult conversations, avoid conflict or arguments and prefer just to keep quiet.

Learning how to talk and how to say what you feel is important in maintaining good relationships, not just in your personal life but with the people you work with. If you can’t tell someone how you feel, how can you expect them to know? None of us are mind readers.

It can seem uncomfortable at first if you’re not used to it and it may not come out quite as you intended. Be genuine you will be able to get the message across, as long as the person is open to what you are saying.

Always be clear in the words that you use, the tone of your voice and your body language. Think about the message you are trying to get across.

In this age of technology, with emails and text messages being used as a regular and accepted means of communication, there is even more chance for confusion and misinterpretation.

You can’t communicate feelings or humour in an email or a text. You need to know someone reasonably well to know whether a comment they’ve made is genuine, sarcastic or insulting. I’ve seen many an email or text discussion being totally misinterpreted because it’s been taken out of context and without the underlying feeling being known.

You can interpret a simple statement in a number of different ways just by changing the emphasis on a particular word. Using a different tone would give it a totally different meaning.

Don’t use email or text for discussions where emotional is an important part of the communication. Pick up the phone or arrange for a face-to-face discussion.

An important part of communication is not only speaking but also listening and listening properly, not just waiting for them to stop speaking so you can jump in. Really listen for what they are saying, forget about how you might be feeling, put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

Whether it’s in a work or personal situation, if you have something important or difficult you want to say then:

– Set aside some time specifically to discuss it, when you’re not going to be distracted or interrupted.
– Explain what you’re feeling and what needs to happen or what you would like to happen.
– Ask for their reaction – how do they feel about what you’ve said.
– Don’t be judgemental – accept what they are thinking and feeling.
– Allow time to adjust. Reacting in the heat of the moment is not always the wisest action.
– Make any serious decisions after you’ve had time to think things through.

Above all be honest. There’s nothing worse then being told what someone thinks they want you to hear and then finding out later they were being less than honest with you or with themselves. Perhaps they didn’t want to hurt your feelings but in the end it doesn’t help either of you.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve understood something correctly – ask. Many misunderstandings arise when people make assumptions about what’s been said or what someone means. Your interpretation of the world around you is different from someone else’s based on your background, views, behaviours, beliefs and values, so what you’re thinking may be different too.

I will always prefer to assume “positive intent” when communicating with someone and I recommend that you do too. On the whole people aren’t out to get you – so allow them to clarify if you think you may have misinterpreted or misunderstood what they’ve said.

Give people the benefit of the doubt and make your communication clear and direct.

Keyword Articles: http://www.keywordarticles.org

Clare writes on several topics to help busy, stressed individuals and small business owners organise their lives more effectively. Register for her monthly newsletter at www.clareevans.co.uk and receive free tips on managing your time.

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How to Overcome Blocks to Effective Listening

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You have probably heard the saying “we have two ears and one mouth”, implying that we should be listening twice as much as speaking in order to truely connect, understand and communicate with others. Often our thoughts and actions can have an adverse effect on our ability to listen effectively. Let’s look at a few key aspects that relate to this and the skills and techniques we can apply:

1. Assumptions 

Avoid clouding up your listening attention with assumptions about what your client is trying to say, what they really mean, what they want you to hear, etc.  Assumptions are often not accurate and they could certainly prevent you from focusing on what’s being said.  To manage this situation, you can say within your mind “If I’m assuming, I’m not listening.” Tune in on any possible assumptions they might be making based on what you hear. If you feel you need to, check-in with them by asking a question to “pop” any possible assumption and provide clarity for both you and them.

2. Buzz Words

Your prospect or client may have private buzz words which have a definite emotional charge, sometimes positive, sometimes more negative.  When you hear their own buzz words, it may be appropriate to reject or accept the whole message on the basis of their instant emotional reaction to the word or idea.  If you get hooked into the buzz word and its emotional intention, the listening stops.

3. Interruptions

In our haste to share our own ideas, we cut others off. This conveys to your client that you do not value what they have to say, and this can result in the perception of lack of respect. If you have something to say, hold the thought while staying focused on listening to the other person. This may not come easy, but it is important to stay committed towards developing this skill. Make sure they finish their sentence or their message they are trying to communicate and keep the discussion flowing.

4.  Generalisations

If you feel they are generalizing too much, ask them to be more specific. You can do this by asking questions that start with the following:

 “What specifically …”

 “How specifically …”

 “Who specifically …”.

 Examples:

What specifically would you like to achieve during this meeting?”

 How specifically can I be of service to you right now?”

 Who specifically would be most suitable to help you develop the project plan?”

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