As an entrepreneur, you need lots of skills in your toolbox, from sales and marketing, through to finance, leadership, administration, and more. However, one of the most important parts of running a business in any industry is communication.
Whether you need to convince investors of the merits of your idea, persuade customers to buy your products or services, or entice a top candidate to work for you, communication skills are vital to success in a number of ways.
It is a good idea to study an online master’s in communication to really school yourself in the area, or else employ workers who have studied this area themselves. Read on for some much-needed communication skills you can start working on today.
Understanding Body Language
You’ve probably heard a million times before that most of communication is actually nonverbal. However, how much time do you actually take to think about whether your body language is sending the message you want it to day in and day out?
Mastering your presentation in a nonverbal way is essential for entrepreneurs. With this you can:
• Get across your meaning in the right way
• Command a room when you want to
• Persuade others
• Show empathy, enthusiasm, displeasure, pride, thanks, respect, and attentiveness
There are plenty of blogs, books, courses, workshops, and other teaching aids out there that will help you to learn about, and practice, your nonverbal communication skills. Some of the basics to keep in mind, though, when interacting in business settings include:
• Looking people in the eye
• Keeping your hands out of your pockets or on your hips
• Sitting and standing straight
• Restraining yourself from fidgeting
If you want to achieve great success as an entrepreneur, then you will most assuredly have to learn how to listen attentively. Listening is actually one of the top communication skills business people should learn, as it is useful in so many scenarios and settings, and with so many people.
Active listening – really listening to, and trying to understand, what another person is communicating to you – will help you. You’ll be able to:
• Pick up on current or potential problems earlier on
• Mitigate risks
• Build relationships
• Lead a team
• Mediate problems
• Negotiate with others
Listening is particularly important when it comes to dealing with customers. After all, every product or service you sell should present a solution to a problem, or provide a person or company with a benefit. By listening to clients, you can more quickly and effectively work out their specific problems and show them how your offerings can solve them or demonstrate how they might receive other benefits.
Of course, in many business situations, you will also find yourself having to present your proposals, ideas, data, or other information to interested parties, whether that may be potential clients, investors, journalists, employees or other groups.
To get the results you need from such presentations, it is important for you to be well-versed in getting your message across effectively so that is has the impact you desire. It often takes lots of practice for speakers to not only get their presentation across with clarity, conciseness, poise, and confidence, but also to learn how to use helpful tools such as PowerPoint.
Keep in mind that a picture is worth a thousand words, so you will always get a more powerful result if you can connect with your audience verbally and visually (and even kinaesthetically too, via the use of props or samples).
Communicating Via the Written Word
Much of the communication done in business is via the written word, whether on emails, in reports, in letters, in blogs and articles, in books, on text messages, on social media posts or on other relevant formats. To get your message across as you’d like, you must know how to write well.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect, but you do need to check your work for errors (in spelling, grammar, and data) and utilize spell-check tools or proofreaders, particularly on your most important documents. After all, while you may not like it, the fact is that people will judge you by your writing skills. If you send out poorly written items, this can reflect negatively on not just yourself but also your organization.
Furthermore, in business it is a good idea to learn how to communicate using the written word in a way that is both concise and direct. This helps to ensure that there are fewer chances for readers to misinterpret your words, and it saves you time to boot. Well-written emails, letters, articles, and the like are also much more likely to get opened, read, shared, replied to, and remembered.
Jackie Roberson is a content coordinator and contributor who creates quality articles for topics like technology, home life, and education. She studied business management and is continually building positive relationships with other publishers and the Internet community.