Business Communication Skills: How to Say Anything to Anyone
Being an exceptional communicator is a trait that many professionals seek to acquire. Your communication skills will directly affect every aspect of your business; from acquiring customers to maintaining professional relationships. If you’re less than confident in your ability to communicate in a professional setting, it’s time you made a change.
In order to effectively communicate with customers and colleagues, a business professional must be well versed in how to deliver and receive specific business messages. That’s why in this special article, we list our top tips on how to improve your business communication skills to give you the ability to say anything to anyone.
How to Improve Your Business Communication Skills
1. Be Prepared
In order to have your business message taken seriously, you’ve got to work on being prepared to discuss any topic related to your industry in a moment’s notice. The only way to be prepared for the inevitable is to make sure that you’re as educated in your industry as possible. If you’re unsure or apprehensive about what you’re saying, your listener is going to notice.
Building your authority and expert reputation can be mastered by being well informed and prepared for all business communication. When you start a new conversation with someone, make sure you’re able to answer “Yes” to the following questions:
- • Can I explain my job or business title in just a few sentences?
- • Am I an expert in my field or industry?
- • Do I know important dates, milestones and/or trends surrounding my business?
- • Do I know what my listener’s general needs and wants are?
- • Do I know what I am trying to accomplish by speaking with this individual?
If you’re not able to answer the general questions above, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Learn more about your business and your industry to be able to speak like an expert. Get to know your overall goals and desired outcomes from communicating with others about your business.
A truly successful communicator will be able to tailor their message to get the most out of any business conversation. Being prepared and knowledgeable will give your business message the weight it needs to be accepted and taken seriously.
2. Practice Active Listening
It’s one thing to merely listen to what is being said to you. You can gain a deeper insight into what is being said when you actively listen to who you’re speaking with.
Practice active listening with a colleague and focus on the following areas:
- • Give your undivided attention to whomever you’re speaking with.
- • Silently repeat the words being relayed to you to increase your focus.
- • Pay attention to the speaker’s posture, mannerisms and social cues.
- • Acknowledge your agreement with a message by casually nodding your head.
- • Paraphrase what you heard back to the speaker to confirm what was conveyed to you.
- • Take notes during important business conversations to review at a later time.
Being a proactive listener takes a lot of practice, so don’t worry if your mind drifts when you first start developing this skill. After enough practice, you’ll be able to train yourself to quiet your wandering mind and learn to be fully engaged during all business communications.
3. Speak With Confidence
It may come as no surprise, but business professionals that present themselves with confidence and self-assurance are more likely to be heard and trusted. Customers and colleagues alike will respond favorably to speakers that appear to be confident in the message they’re giving.
Confidence defined is, “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.” When you’re holding important business meetings or conversations, you want your audience and listeners to believe in what you’re saying and to place their trust in you.
When getting to the root of speaking with confidence, you should know that there are 3 Important Elements of Communication. In 1967, Albert Mehrabian came up with the 7%-38%-55% rule determining that communication is made up of 3 parts:
- • 7% of meaning is in the actual words you use
- • 38% of meaning is in your tone
- • 55% of meaning is in your body language
As you can see, although what you say is mildly important, your overall tone and body language while delivering the message is extremely important. Confident people hold themselves differently than people who are more self-conscious. Adopt these business communication skills to make sure your message is well received.
To exude confidence, hold your head up straight; making sure your earlobes are in line with the middle of your shoulders. Keep your shoulders back and squared in a relaxed, but controlled position. Tighten your midsection and be sure not to tilt forward or backward.
Use your hands to make gestures that correspond with what you’re saying to make your communication style more lively and active. Remember that only 7% of what you’re communicating is verbal, so try to be a great storyteller with your body as well.
The tone of your voice speaks volumes; accounting for 38% of your overall message. In our recent article, The Importance of Tone of Voice in Customer Service, you’ll learn more about the different tones you can use to encourage a desired outcome or rapport.
4. Master Body Language Techniques
Since 55% of your business communication is received through sensing your body language, here are a few more body language techniques to try and master.
• Mirroring Gestures
Try to mirror the body language of the person you’re speaking with. This will help put them at ease and create a mutual understanding and bond.
• Unfolded Arms
To convey a willingness to be open and receptive to any message, make sure your arms are not folded in front of you. This sends a negative message that you are closed off to the person you’re speaking with.
• Maintain Eye Contact
One of the oldest business communication tips is to maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking with. Avoiding eye contact leads to your listener thinking that you’re not interested, sincere or honest.
5. Wait Your Turn
This final tip is crucial; as no one likes a business conversation that is one-sided. Get out of the habit of talking to people and start focusing on talking with people. Unless you’re a lecturer, there’s no reason why your business communication style should be weighted in your favor.
Think of your next business conversation like a tennis match. You make a statement and then a statement is delivered directly back to you. When the other person is speaking, make sure you stay engaged. Taking a break from speaking doesn’t give you a break from actively listening. The customer or colleague you’re speaking with will know when you’re trying to think of the next thing to say rather than fully listening to them.
Don’t be negatively affected by pauses in the conversation; pauses can be a really good thing. A healthy pause can lead to the other person elaborating on what they want or need. Or, a pause can lead to a new direction of the conversation that is one step closer to your desired outcome.
During your business conversation, create a feeling of equality and encourage collaboration by asking for the other person’s opinion. When you ask for input, the person you’re speaking with will feel positive about the conversation when you value their opinion.
Experts In Business Communication Skills
Since first opening in 1986, our professional answering service has worked on perfecting these business communication skills. We hope that our 30 years of experience in handling the communication for our customers helps you to create your professional communication style.