Communicating is something that most of us do instinctively – just like breathing. But that does not mean we always do it effectively. While it may seem easy and we believe that we are doing it correctly, some small business owners forget that communicating effectively actually takes quite a bit of finesse.
Our choice of words when communicating can often be less important than the listening skills we use before using our actual words. The best skills a communicator can use is listening with his or her mind instead of just the ears, to get our message across.
It’s often said by public speakers that it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. Basically, unless you speak the language of your intended audience, you won’t be heard by the people you want to reach. Choosing fancy words may turn off the active listening of the person or group you are communicating with, and your intended message may be lost.
Using engagement in your communications, such as asking questions and getting a better understanding of what the other person is interested in hearing, will let them know that you are serious about what you can do for them. Oftentimes, rather than challenging someone’s point, asking them a question can bring clarity and better understanding of the communication at hand.
When trying to bring someone over to your side of a conversation, try being more aspirational rather than inspirational. In other words, you want them to feel that you have a common goal of achievement, rather than trying to inspire them to influence their beliefs in what you are communicating.
Don’t forget that at home and in social settings, miscommunication can lead to arguments. But in the workplace or the small business world, the repercussions can be far more serious. By improving communication skills you use with your team or throughout your small business office dealings, you will improve in the practice of effective communications.
In this day of email, voice mail, instant messaging and social media communications, don’t let your verbal communication skills get rusty. Scheduling annual, semi-annual or even quarterly face-to-face meetings with key customers, staff and even suppliers, will help solidify the communications you have had with them. Remember, by practicing those communications skills outside of the meeting room, you will improve the results while inside these important meetings.
If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner that has office space at an office business centre, practice your active listening skills and effective communication strategies with the centre’s staff and others you come into contact with. Often, when we become familiar with people who work around us but not with us, the familiarity drops our guard and stifles the practice of effective communication and active listening.