Talking is an essential activity in life; it allows us to express ideas, share information, and put our feelings into words for other people to understand. From a business perspective, communication skills are just as necessary; it enables team leaders and colleagues to collaborate more effectively, work in the most efficient way possible, and aid in any problem-solving related tasks.
However, most people shrug off the significance of communication skills in a business setting. While they do recognize its importance, many fail to act on the opportunity of bettering them. As a result, the vast majority of people are mediocre at best, and now that we’ve shifted most of our business communication to videoconferencing, communication skills are more important than ever. So to address this growing issue, we’ll be learning how you can build more impactful and persuasive communication skills.
Communication Is Imperative to Success
Let’s say you’re on-the-spot reporting on the company’s financial performance for the year 2020; it’s been a tough year, you’ve managed to scrape by, but you see a potential solvency problem due to accumulated long-term debt. If you’re unable to relay the significance of such an issue, key decision-makers won’t be able to act on it immediately, which could severely hamper the company’s growth and longevity.
In this situation, we can observe the crucial role communication skills play from a business perspective, and whether we’d like to admit it or not, these skills are imperative to success. And to aid on your journey, here are some great practices and tips to begin with as you work toward bettering your communication skills.
#1 Master of Nonverbal Communication
Not all communication is done through words. In fact, some would even argue that 80%-90% of communication is not done verbally but through nonverbal communication. And, considering how big of a cut it takes, you’ll want to become a master of nonverbal communication to improve your overall business communication skills. From wearing appropriate attire, clean looks, and how you carry yourself, all these factors require your attention.
Gestures and Eye Gaze:
Hand gestures can be hit or miss at times, but when used effectively, they can boost your confidence and help establish authority. You don’t want to stand there in front of the camera as stiff as possible, so use hand gestures to highlight points and get your idea across. Just don’t overdo it because you run the risk of looking too dramatic. In terms of eye gaze, steady eye contact is important because it elicits trustworthiness.
Body Language and Appearance:
It can be very tempting to wear your casual attire during videoconferences, but we urge you to dress properly because your appearance says a lot. An excellent smart casual/business casual look will make your colleagues take you more seriously and also helps build rapport. As for body language, try not to slouch as much or do anything inappropriate during your work meetings to avoid distractions or making you look uninterested.
#2 Train Your Speaking Voice
While our unique voices are fine the way they are currently, no speaking voice is born perfect, so you’ll want to train and practice on a regular basis. From strong vocal tones to avoiding voice cracks, these all play important roles in making you sound more confident and persuasive. And, while there is no perfect benchmark for a good speaking voice, we all can admit we have some parts that need a bit of work.
Speak with Clarity:
Our minds can go blazingly fast, but our mouths aren’t able to keep up with the amount of information we want to share. So you’ll want to avoid talking too fast, stick to fuller sentences, enunciate each word properly, and focus on being understood rather than saying as much information as possible. It’s also a good idea to have water or warm tea nearby in case your throat starts to feel a bit dry.
Warm up and Exercise:
From articulation exercise to proper breathing techniques, you’ll want to warm up and train your speaking voice every day. Talking in front of the mirror and practicing your report/speech is a great way to give yourself a dry run and work on your speaking voice. You might also want to consider singing lessons as lip trills, and vocal pitch can work wonders for your speaking voice as well.
#3 Practice Active Listening
Last but not least, always remember that communication is not a one-way ordeal, but a two-way process between two or more participants. You can’t expect to have your colleagues and fellow employees understand you if you fail to listen to their questions, queries, or problems because that’s just unproductive. In order to gain authoritative and persuasive communication skills, you must start by being a good listener. So do your best to take into account everyone’s responses as you communicate.
Don’t Let Communication Hold You Back
Overall, communication skills should bridge a business closer to success, not hold it back from reaching success. So don’t let these skills be a hindrance, and take the time to work on your speaking voice. You might even discover that you have a knack for public speaking and enjoying it more than you intended!