Did you know, not using effective business communication could be costing your company money?
Every day, we go to work without spending much time on how we are going to communicate with others, once we get there, or how effective it will be.
Most of us are entirely oblivious to the impact our communication skills have on the success of our career, let alone if it is striping the company of money.
How we talk, write, or listen, could be affecting our job performance, promotion status, or, our chances of a pay raise.
When communication is ineffective, the ability to negotiate or land a sale, changes. Once being tasks which could generate possible leads and profits, suddenly turns into a total waste of time.
Unfortunately, learning how to implement effective business communication at work, does not typically sit high on our priority list.
That is not to say we are deliberately trying to impair our professional growth, but our ignorance of how much of a role communication plays in the positions we fill, could be doing what we fear most, preventing us from moving up in the company.
Many employees believe, since they “got the job,” or, have never been “spoken to,” about the way they communicate at work, they must be doing it right.
Playing a guessing game with job performance is not a sound career plan. Something must be done.
The motivation to improve our communication skills, must come from us, and should not solely be dependant on the feedback given, or lack thereof, by our managers and colleagues.
It is our responsibility to learn about effective business communication and why it is essential in the workplace, and we will, but first, let’s briefly cover the different types of communication we regularly use.
A Brief Overview Of The Different Types Of Communication
The first thought that pops into most of our minds when we hear the word, “Communication,” is that of a person talking, but there is much more to this word than simple, “chit-chat.”
There are three main types of communication:
- Verbal Communication - How we express ourselves through the use of words.
i.e., Sounds, Language, Writing, Announcements, Letters, Dialogue, Monologues, and Speech.
- Non-Verbal Communication - How we express ourselves through actions.
i.e., Physical Touch, Facial Expressions, Listening, Gestures, Body Language, and Eye Contact.
- Visual Communication: How we express ourselves through the use of visuals.
i.e., Advertising, Signs, Graphics, Films, Photographs, and Designs.
The results from a communication study showed, on average, people spend around 70 to 80 percent of their days using some form of communication.
Of that time, we typically spend about 9 percent writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking, and 45 percent listening.
Much of what we do and say throughout our day speaks to who we are, how we feel, and think, among other things. Whether it is intentional or not, we are constantly communicating with others, as they are to us.
For instance, a simple yawn can imply the person is tired or bored, and a constant sniffle can communicate to others that the person might be coming down with a cold.
Apply the same idea to more work-related communication styles, and suddenly it will all become clear. i.e., How you write emails, listen during meetings, and conduct presentations.
Think of the different ways you communicate on a daily basis and the messages they send -- Do you often consider their effectiveness?
As humans, we cannot go a waking moment without using some verbal, non-verbal, or visual communication, and this quote by Mark Twain can easily be viewed as a description of the different communication types, since, it uses them to convey its message.
“Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.”
What Is Effective Business Communication And Why Is It Important?
Many of us spend eight hours or more a day at work, which makes the majority of our daily communication happen during office hours.
Not knowing to what degree the communication we use at work is helping or hindering us, makes it even harder to gauge how well we are doing in achieving our goals and the goals of the business.
Understanding and using effective communication, is essential to becoming a better employer and employee.
So, what is Effective Business Communication? It is the process of two or more people sharing information that sends a clear message, and it is received, as intended.
When it is used at work, this form of communication can significantly increase the company's success.
When we speak for, with, or on behalf of the business, the use of effective communication, makes work instructions, tasks, information, expectations, along with work processes, better to understand.
On the other hand, if the way we communicate at work is ineffective, which most are, the company ends up paying for it, literally.
It may be hard to believe, but companies with as little as 100 employees, spend, on average, around 17 hours a week clarifying previous communication, which, when translated into dollar signs, equals, approximately $525,000.
Knowing, this is the result of ineffective communication, that it is preventable, is like adding salt to an open wound.
A definite eye-opener, business owners need to start taking action by implementing the use of effective business communication.
In making it a high priority, company owners can check for communication issues and try to improve them, by offering a variety of solutions in the workplace.
Adding useful sections about communications to different company forms and processes, like employee onboarding, will teach employees the value of communication from the start.
Managers can encourage discussions during job performance meetings, as well as, offer effective business communication training.
Some may think, “But this will cost the company money,” the truth is, you are losing money by not doing it.
At least the money you spend on offering items like useful communication courses will be for the betterment of the business, unlike the costs you are experiencing now.
Otherwise, the unnecessary loss of money will continue to occur, including, the waste of employee time and productivity, resulting in a continuous cycle of the loss of company dollars.
The information we share in our daily work emails, newsletters, phone calls, and in meetings, are currently not confusion-free, nor easy to read, and these are only some of the main reasons your company is losing money.
Many of us “hit” the email send button, without a second thought, paying very little attention, if any at all, to the effectiveness of our communication and the messages we are sending.
Having to continually repeat instructions, requirements and project objectives, to employees or colleagues, is not a proper way to run a business, yet, this is precisely how many are currently operating.
We continue to allow poor communication to hurt our bottom line while minimizing the company's chances at success.
Majority of workers want to deliver real value and be a contributor to the greater good of the company, making it even harder to understand why we accept this practice, but unfortunately, we do.
It is no secret that the success of a company is a direct reflection of the people running it, which is why effective business communication needs to become an integral part of our work environments.
Ignorance can no longer be the reason why businesses continue to lose money from ineffective communication.
Shedding light on the impact communication has on our work, hopefully, will inspire others to take the next step, which is to develop practical business communication skills.
When using this form of communication, not only are you able to connect better with others, increase your reach, and complete more tasks but, you are also able to generate more revenue for yourself and the company.
How To Develop Effective Business Communication Skills
One of your top professional goals should be to foster your work relationships through effective communication.
Going beyond job-related discussions, you should be using it in all forms of communication.
A learned skill-set, effective business communication is something you must familiarize yourself with and learn how to develop.
Through practice, your communication will strengthen, and its effectiveness will transfer into the jobs you do, making your work efforts effective too.
One key component needed to grow as an engaging employee is self-awareness.
Take notice of ALL your daily verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication habits to become intentional with the words and actions you use at work.
When looking to change, expand, and better yourself, development needs to occur.
Here are four ways to help develop your business communication skills to make them effective.
- Make sure the communication you share and send out to others is complete.
- Include all of the facts required by the audience.
- Be precise in the words you use to express your intended message.
- Refrain from making any assumptions about the receiver.
- Double check your work to ensure there are no grammar or spelling errors.
- If using charts, graphs, or statistics, to enhance your communication, the information must be accurate.
- Your communication needs to be comprehensible.
- Make your message concise and not, “wordy.”
- Use fewer words, to accurately convey your message, without diminishing its primary meaning.
- To ensure your message is crystal clear, it is recommended to share only one specific piece of information at a time, to help lessen the opportunities for confusion.
- Use appropriate words, ones that best describe what you are attempting to say, share, ask, or, request.
As clarity is a friend to communication, confusion is its foe.
Employees want to fulfill their tasks and complete projects quickly and efficiently, with as little back-and-forth communication as possible.
The clearer the communication is, the easier it will be to complete work tasks, correctly and on time.
Since gaining the knowledge that effective business communication is more than just words, instead, a combination of several things, it is important to remember and incorporate them when developing your communication skills.
For instance, when writing, it is important to remember to address the paragraph formation, style, and structure.
While speaking, your tone of voice, inflections in your speech, and word choice, all have an impact on the effectiveness of your message.
When going beyond the “paper,” there are other parts of effective communication, which you must consider.
In becoming conscious of your gestures, expressions, and body language, it makes it easier for others to “read” you, because, literally everything you do and say, matters.
It goes to show, “How” we communicate, is just as important as “What” we communicate. The following quote is a perfect representation of this,
“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” ― Alan Greenspan
Due to the quote’s sentence structure, at first, the message is confusing and hard to understand, which is why you most likely had to read it more than once.
Whenever in doubt of what type of communication to use, ask others for their opinion and conduct your research using the internet.
Knowing what it takes to strengthen your communication skills will improve your work-life.
It will be easier to accomplish professional goals by knowing how to effectively communicate with your bosses, managers, executives, directors, and co-workers.
You will find more doors are opening up for you at work.
Suddenly, you can choose to become a great speaker, writer, or presenter, and with regular practice, people will take notice of the job you do.
Therefore, the growth in your communication skills will lead to an increase in your workplace value.
Eventually, you will feel confident in your communication abilities that you will no longer fear asking for a promotion, pay raise or the power-client account you have been eyeing for months.
Effective business communication will help you, your company, and its employees, climb the ladder of success, where you can advance to the very top and shine.
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