Communication: Make It Work For You

April 25, 2016

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as: "The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else; a message that is given to someone: a letter, telephone call, etc." This sounds so simple, yet can be so complex in a business environment.

It might be said that communication is more of an art than a science. The easy part is simply exchanging information… speaking thoughts to someone else. The art of communication, however, is knowing how to verbalize ideas while at the same time listening, empathizing, encouraging, or influencing. These actions are not automatic but take forethought and training to ensure messages are delivered to elicit a desired response.

Communication can make or break a business. Whether dealing with customers or employees, open communication is of paramount importance. Gain respect and credibility with customers and employees when being truthful, informative, and upfront or take the opposite approach and watch both groups flee.

The following techniques can improve communication and improve business:

Be positive

Communication can be positive or negative through both verbal communication and body language...your choice. Listeners sense negative thoughts and feelings. When “bad vibes” are received and antennas go up, the intended result of the communication is lost. Positive intentions can be turned into negative outcomes with such little effort. Think before you speak and be conscious of body language. Make all communication as positive as possible.

Be excited

Enthusiasm shows through when someone is really excited about what they are talking about. You can't convince someone of your thoughts and ideas when you're not even excited about them yourself. Excite your listener with your own excitement. If you're not excited, then figure out how to get excited! There's a lot of competition around. The bigger rewards go to those who are most excited about what they do.

Don’t be condescending

No one likes being "talked down" to or being around someone who is arrogant and feels superior to others. When this happens in business, the other side simply goes away…employees, customers, associates. Most businesses need all of these groups to survive.

Listen

Communication can only be truly effective when each person hears what the other has to say. You might be right, the other person might be right, or you both might be wrong. If you are not listening to the other side, you'll never know who's right or wrong...or both right or both wrong.

Be open-minded

There is usually more than one opinion on any subject. Certainly, everyone has his or her own opinion, but effective communication allows others to be heard and considered. Maybe, there is room for compromise or a better solution to a problem. Being open-minded does not mean that you lose. It simply means that you were looking for and considering the best option to whatever you are discussing.

Say the magic words

Children are taught to be polite and say, "Please, thank you, and you're welcome." Somehow over the years, adults forget that these same magic words apply in business. It takes such little time and effort to utter these words, but they can have such a profound effect.

Be thoughtful

You probably like to be treated in a certain way. Customers and employees want the same. When there is a mad dash in business to get something accomplished, people often forget the feelings of others. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way in making great progress.

Easy or difficult, effective or ineffective

Communication – easy or difficult, effective or ineffective – it's up to you. When dealing with customers, communication is important. They want to know about the products or services they are purchasing. They want follow-up and customer service. Employees, likewise, need communication, as well. They want open-door policies and know that their voices are heard.

Effective communication can improve a business. It always doesn't come easy but saying something the right way, a reply email, or a quick phone call can be well worth the effort. Be conscious of how you communicate and see the results!