Have you ever wondered how to improve your professional communication skills? For starters, communication is geared toward creating synergy around various modes (e.g., verbal and non-verbal) of communication. We live in a world that is fast-paced and pressurized. So, learning how to communicate well is crucial.
Some even say your success is directly proportional to the proficiency of your communication skills. “It’s estimated that 14% of each workweek is wasted as a result of poor communication,” while historical studies “of over 2,000 senior executives and managers across the US found that 94% of the participants identified ‘communicating well’ as the most important skill for executives and managers to have in order to be successful today and tomorrow.” (Source: Linchpin)
Here’s a look at why effective communication is important and how you can ace it:
Ace Verbal Communication
Communicating and interacting with internal and external stakeholders (i.e., employees, vendors, customers, news media, etc.) is a vital part of business. You will become much more effective when you: a) address the listener by his or her name, frequently; b) ensure you are speaking at a pace that is neither too fast nor too slow; c) minimize the use of jargon and using repetitive phrases; and d) communicate with a precise, crisp and clear tone.
Employ Proper Etiquette
One of the most important areas of communication deals with your customers – especially challenging situations. However, practice makes perfect. By managing customer service interactions early on you can develop the confidence to tackle various types of customer issues.
Take a Confident Approach
Confidence is a key ingredient to becoming a successful entrepreneur. When you display confidence while taking business calls, interacting with peers, networking at events, etc. you instill confidence in those around you. Most importantly, it plays a bigger role when you have to think on your feet.
“When you present information, give an opinion or provide suggestions, make sure that you know what you are talking about and that you are well informed. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything about everything, but if you are reasonably confident in your knowledge of the subject, that confidence will help you to remain calm and collected even if you are put unexpectedly in the hot seat.” (Source: Mindtools)
Listen More, Speak Less
When communicating, especially with customers and clients, it is essential to listen more and talk less. When it comes to phone interactions, make it a point to understand a customer’s issue before offering a solution. Communicating in haste can have detrimental impact on relationships and sales.
Prepare in Advance
Before you start a conversation, consider your talk points, what you want to learn and the end goal. Most importantly, know your stuff! Adequate knowledge of your business and how it can help a potential customer is paramount. Meanwhile, people will appreciate and respect the effort made to meet their needs. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be adequately prepared to promptly answer any inquiry that comes your way.
Smile, You’re Designed To
Did you know that a smile can be seen … and heard! According to Science Daily, “Smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can identify the type of smile based on sound alone, according to a new study. The research, which also suggested that some people have “smilier” voices than others, adds to the growing body of evidence that smiling and other expressions pack a strong informational punch and may even impact us on a subliminal level.”
Customer Experience Strategist, Adam Toporek suggests the power of smiling over the phone is even more evident. “It is standard advice in sales and customer service to smile while talking on the phone. In fact, there is even a term for this when applied to outgoing calls: ‘Smile and Dial.’ While this advice has been around for years, it is amazing how many people have still not been exposed to it … It’s not exactly the kind of thing they teach in school.”
Try it for yourself. While speaking, expand your lungs, stand up or sit upright in a good chair and speak with gestures. Your listener is sure to hear the difference! When you communicate in this fashion you are actually synchronizing verbal messages with non-verbal ones. And ultimately your communication is viewed as more credible and professional.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kritika Prashant is a Content Marketing Specialist at VoiceTree Technologies, India. Together with team MyOperator , as an IIT Delhi alumna she committed to make business calls as efficient and manageable as emails for small businesses in India. Connect with @MyOperator on Twitter.