So you have the gift of gab. That’s an advantageous quality in many facets of the business world. It helps you build relationships with suppliers and investors, gain the trust of employees, and even negotiate business deals. However, even the best conversationalists need to know that communication is a two-way road. Without listening, communication can break down, causing problems at all levels of business. Discover how to improve your communication and reap the benefits in a business setting with these tips and suggestions.
1. Actually Listen
Many people confuse listening with waiting for their turn to talk. They might remain silent while another person speaks, but they’re not absorbing anything that person is saying. The problem is that listening doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It may require a concerted effort on your part to make this part of the communication process work.
To improve your listening skills, you need to momentarily part with your own thoughts and stay attentive to the speaker. Pay attention to both words and nonverbal cues, maintain eye contact, and take the words to heart. Avoid interruptions or solutions that aren’t asked for or necessary. By being cognizant of your listening pitfalls and implementing these ideas, your listening skills—and communication—should improve drastically.
2. Create In-Person Projects
If your team isn’t gelling or there are communication issues between departments or individuals, creating an in-person team project or collaboration should help solve the problem. This encourages team members to collaborate on ideas and work toward a common goal while discovering ways to improve communication, efficiency, and productivity. You can also include employees on discussions about projects or other team-building exercises that will facilitate more conversation between parties.
3. Add a Personalized Touch
Emails, team collaboration software, and instant messaging are all convenient methods to contact employees, customers, or clients. But face it—these modes of communication lack a personal touch. It’s this added touch that can differentiate you from competitors, build relationships, and let customers know that they’re appreciated. With traditional and personalized options such as direct mail, you can go beyond a mere email by offering discounts, solutions, and other proactive approaches that build brand and customer loyalty. In addition, you can create personalized thank you notes that your employees will appreciate.
4. Get to Know Your Employees
Nothing is worse for an employee than feeling like they’re just a number. That’s why you should make an effort to get to know your employees. Go beyond memorizing names or using general chitchat to find out their hobbies, musical tastes, family life, and so on. Doing more to connect with your employees will make you less imposing, boost morale, and open up the channels of communication.
Becoming a better communicator is more than just taking note of your lack of listening skills or predisposition for interrupting. It’s a proactive way to improve not only your business relationships but also your personal life. With a few habit tweaks and more self-awareness, you can become a person that your employees confide in and your customers trust. That’s a win-win combination that translates to success.
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