Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Consulting Storytelling Guide (74-slide PowerPoint presentation). Curated by former McKinsey Consultants Unleash the Power of Storytelling in Consulting: A Step-by-Step Guide Are you ready to captivate your clients, inspire your team, and deliver compelling presentations? Introducing our comprehensive consulting storytelling step-by-step guide, a [read more]
Tips for Improving Business Communication
* * * *
Effective communication, both internal and external, is what makes a business succeed. 97% of employees in modern workplaces highlight that proper, pre-emptive, and clear communication can influence their efficiency positively on a day-to-day basis. For an average person working at your organization, improper communication can translate into lower efficiency. In fact, enhancing internal communication can boost organizational productivity by almost 25%.
On top of all of this, 86% of senior executives and employees assert that the primary reason for failures in the workplace is the lack of effective communication. These statistics make the picture abundantly clear that effective communication is important for any business or organization, regardless of size. In a company where making communication crystal clear is a priority, the overall work dynamic can become more efficient through boosted morale and higher levels of productivity. The same also applies to individuals.
Here are some ways in which employers and employees alike can improve business communication:
1. Focus on Written Communication
Emails, memos, briefing documents, and reports are just some mediums for business communication. These text pieces are exchanged on a daily basis, and depending on how clear and well-written they are, the overall decision-making process and productivity in the company vary. This is one of the reasons why being an effective writer is an asset in an employee, and hiring such an individual is an asset for the company.
Individuals working in corporate settings can improve their command of writing through numerous ways, such as a business writing certification, freelance content writing, and general practice whenever there is time. As an employee, you can seek help from a friendly peer or mentor. Being an avid reader of corporate material also helps. The best and most effective tip is to always continue practicing; practice makes you perfect.
2. Become an Active Listener
Are you actually listening while people are speaking? We frequently equate listening with quietness, but merely because you don’t speak when others are talking doesn’t imply you’re actually paying attention. Also, most people are quiet while the other person is speaking because they are building their own thoughts to contradict the ideas being presented. Be careful because that is not how effective communication works. Learn to silence your thoughts so that you may pay attention to what other people are saying.
Reiterating what you’ve heard can often be helpful in ensuring both parties are aware of your attention. This is a key part of the whole communication equation, but is even more essential in a business environment. The ability to listen, whether the person talking is a client, colleague, or superior, can set you apart from others. It may seem like something very basic, but a quick reflection on your day-to-day life can highlight numerous instances where your lack of listening ability made you miss something important.
3. Collaboration Takes You Much Further
Lectures, monologues, and rants are inappropriate in corporate communication, except while giving a presentation or guiding a demonstration. Even during these cases, if you discover that you are speaking for longer than a few seconds, stop! You are not present in a business environment to dictate. Therefore, whether you are a manager or a team member, you want people not to ignore what you tell them; it is best to ask for collaboration and not compulsion.
Simplify what you’re trying to express as much as possible. Permit others to share their thoughts on the subject. Giving and receiving information is the key to effective communication; it is not about imposing your ideas or plans on others. You’ll witness that when you allow others to pitch in and become a part of the conversation, the results achieved will be far greater than when you are only trying to impose your thoughts on others. This simple change in your communication strategy can transform everything, professionally and personally as well.
4. Utilize Your Leisure Time More Effectively
What connection do your favorite TV series, books, and hobbies have to corporate communications? The response is twofold. First of all, they might provide you with fresh viewpoints and significant knowledge of current affairs that advance your corporate intelligence. It’s likely that people who spend more time reading business magazines and connecting with accomplished mentors will turn out to be more able to carry on a business-related conversation than those who rather spend their leisure time watching trashy shows.
There isn’t anything wrong with reality television or the people who watch it. The point is that your time can be spent more constructively elsewhere. Second, engaging in more intellectual activities can help you gain more beneficial thoughts and insights than watching or reading unhelpful things in your free time.
5. Understanding Individual Employees and Their Skills Is Beneficial Too
Is Susan a morning person, or should you wait until later in the day to contact her for a problem at hand? When you stop by to collect your morning coffee, think about whether Jonathan would like a bagel or does he favor sausage biscuits. Rebecca has to leave to get her child from school, but is that on Tuesdays or Thursdays? Do you find these minor nuances to be meaningless? If yes, you’re wrong!
People are important. They are assets to any organization. Remembering them, caring for their needs, and being empathetic is a part of effective business communication. It demonstrates that you care about them beyond their profession when you can recall specifics from their private lives. This encourages richer, more meaningful interactions and connections at the workplace that will naturally translate into a more fruitful business connections.
Business communication for the basis of effective operations within the corporate setting. As is evident from the things listed above, enhancing your communication ability may entail adding certain traits to your personality and becoming a better person overall. Your communication skills improve through certain habits and practices, which can also be inculcated into everyday life. At the end of the day, these simple steps not only enhance your business’s position in a corporate environment, but also your respect as a person within the company and outside.
Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?
You can download in-depth presentations on Communications Strategy and 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.
For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:
- Top 100 in Strategy & Transformation
- Top 100 in Digital Transformation
- Top 100 in Operational Excellence
- Top 100 in Organization & Change
- Top 100 Management Consulting Frameworks
These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.
Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources
37-page PDF document
About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
Top 10 Recommended Documents on Communications Strategy