Communication is everything in business and in all of our relationships. Honestly, how else would people communicate? In order to enjoy an agreeable business and personal discussion, the communication level has to be excellent. How does one communicate effectively? Simply put, say what you mean, say it clearly, and say it with respect.
Step 1: Establish Trust
Some people naturally distrust other people, because they do not know what the other one is thinking. Therefore, the sooner that you come out and say what you want, the sooner you can begin establishing trust. If you sense that someone is especially apprehensive, then you could go try and reassure him or her that you are not a threat. As you can guess, this doesn’t always work, so don’t waste time trying to change someone’s mind. Instead, continue being cordial and ethical and hope that your professionalism and consistency eventually wins them over – assuming you want to win them over. There are some you may not want as clients or even associates. In the financial services industry, Bill Bachrach has developed the only system I know of for building a high-trust client relationship. For more information, go to www.billbachrach.com.
Step 2: Speak Clearly and Concisely
Speaking clearly can sometimes be a problem since not everyone actually takes the time to improve in diction or word usage. If all you have to say is, “Blah,” don’t say “Blah, Blah.”
Step 3: Recognize Problems in Communication
What are some of the most common barriers in effective communication? For starters, there is language, or word usage. People can easily misinterpret or even distort a statement’s original meaning. It is wise to avoid saying anything questionable that might confuse a listener, or inadvertently provoke a negative reaction.
Step 4: Learn How to Use Tone and Body Language Together
In trying to improve your own communication, beware of a defensive posture or negative voice inflection. Make sure that you use a friendly and welcoming posture, with open arms and a smile. The misreading of body language and tone of voice is one of the most common problems in the breakdown of communication. Even if you are saying something agreeable, if you show physical signs to the contrary, your message and your honesty will come under suspicion.
Step 5: Never Assume Anything
Assumptions are another common problem, whether they are self-fulfilled assumptions or merely assuming that others see things in the exact same way that you do. Never assume—the fact of the matter is that most people do not see things they way that you do, nor do they have the same feelings as you do. The less you assume, the better.
Step 6: Recognize Communication Issues caused by Technology
Sometimes messages can be misunderstood because of cell phone static. Other technology based communication problems might result from lost phone messages or ambiguous email messages. Lastly, remember that this form of impersonal communication usually doesn’t allow for non-verbal clues, although virtual conferencing is an ever-increasing trend.
Step 7: Learn How to Talk Business
If you are trying to get someone to open up then try using open-ended questions rather than yes or no interrogations.
The more effective you can be with your communication the more successful you will be – personally and professionally. Communication can be extremely powerful in helping you or it can hurt you. Apply any or all of the seven steps mentioned above and set goals around enhancing your communication.