Communication can be a difficult skill to learn, but it can make or break your business. Here are 5 ways to improve your communication skills.
Recognise the ‘why’
Whenever you go into any conversation as a business owner, you can probably picture your objectives clearly in your mind. Whether you’re aiming to sell a product, close a deal or get an investor on board, you know why you’re doing a specific thing. In the same breath, you need to be able to understand what the other person is getting at. This can be a bit of a challenge at first, which is why it’s important to listen for key phrases and ask questions.
Connect to their feelings
Connecting to the feelings of the other person may seem a bit strange when we’re talking about business, but just because you’re communicating professionally, doesn’t mean that the other person has no emotions you can resonate with. Detecting whether the person you’re speaking to is feeling excited, irritable, comfortable or uninterested can help you know when and how to adjust your tone, and whether to continue with a certain topic or change lanes into another. Conversations rarely play out the way you’ve expected them to, so learning how to intuit the feelings of others will make you a much more natural communicator in business, and someone who makes people feel understood.
Let them lead
Letting the other person lead the conversation may seem like an act of weakness or timidness, but it can actually be very effective when communicating. Allowing the other person to speak will give you a chance to listen and learn as much as possible about what their objectives are, what type of communication they’ll react best to, etc. It’ll also make them feel listened to, making them feel more at ease and open to discussion.
Know your worth
Knowing your worth is vital in business dealings, because it’s your foundation for setting boundaries and not accepting offers which are way below what’s appropriate. This isn’t always easy, and there will be times when you may be desperate and end up agreeing to a deal that’s not that beneficial to you. Mistakes happen, and they give us a chance to learn. But you can avoid a lot of unpleasantness by sticking to your guns and not devaluing yourself and your work.
Honour your word
Following through on your promises in business is vital, and this can only happen if you’ve made a promise that you know you can keep. It may be tempting to promise more than you know you can deliver, but it’s far more effective to manage the other person’s expectations from the start and be upfront on what you can and can’t do for them.
Think of your communication skills like muscles- the more you use them, the stronger they’ll get. As long as you keep these basic principles in mind, you’ll eventually improve. Don’t forget to browse our Entrepreneurship section for more helpful tips and resources.