As with everything else in life, good communication is key to success in the business world. Words have the power to make or break a career, and whether you’re trying to negotiate a raise, land a big client, or knock an interview out of the park, there are certain key communication skills you’ll need to have in your arsenal. Here are five of them.
As the old saying goes, you were given one mouth and two ears for a reason. Instead of having a set agenda in mind as you speak, it’s important that you listen to the other person and understand their mindset before adding input of your own. Everyone likes to feel heard, and an attentive listener is a valuable commodity in any kind of business venture.
Audience is Key
You wouldn’t speak to a room of third-graders the same way you’d speak to a boardroom, so it’s important to understand your audience. If you know that customer service is of paramount importance to a potential client, for instance, you can tailor your pitch to emphasize just how attentive you and your employees are. If your boss is all about numbers and results, you can highlight just how much the numbers have improved since you were brought on board.
Practice Makes Perfect
Even the best Hollywood actors practice and practice before getting in front of the camera, so this strategy should be just as important for you when you’re getting ready to make a big presentation or have an important conversation. You probably shouldn’t script your speech word for word, as this can come across hollow and stiff. Instead, rehearse certain key sentences and phrases, practice speech patterns, and plan out questions that you can ask to engage your audience.
Leave Emotions Out of It
One of the quickest ways that an otherwise productive conversation can become derailed is when someone lets their emotions get the best of them and abandons logic in the process. Especially in the case of disagreements arising, it can be easy for communication to break down and tempers to flare. In situations such as these, it’s important to keep your cool and make your point dispassionately. If the other person sees that you’re staying professional, they’ll be more likely to do the same thing.
We’ve all been told that networking is important. And while this is true, it’s all too common for people to make that initial conversation and then fade away over time, allowing that fresh relationship to wither. The much better approach is to make that great first impression and then have micro networking moments where the professional relationship can be maintained and strengthened.
Whether you’re a recent grad looking to land your dream job, an employee looking for a raise, or a seasoned veteran looking to secure a major account, communication can help you achieve your goal. Take these tips and feel free to add onto them with some of your own. Everyone communicates differently, so explore what works best for you.