One of the skills every professional needs to possess is the ability to effectively communicate. We communicate with companies, clients, vendors, our bosses, co-workers, and employees. We simply cannot let our ability to communicate become something that we skate through our career and hope it all works out. The opportunity for misunderstandings is too great.
At last year’s WordCamp Orlando, Nathan Ingram, led a session on effective business communication. He is the creator of ADVANCE Coaching and works primarily with WordPress web developers to help them becoming more successful in their freelance businesses. I thought his points about business communication were great reminders for everyone.
4 Components of Successful Business Communications
CLARITY: In the business world, reaching agreement doesn’t always mean there’s clarity. Specificity is about clarity. We can get specific by asking questions. One of the best skills we can develop is the ability to ask good questions, which can ultimately help us achieve the clarity we’re looking for.
COMMITTMENTS: According to Ingram, all healthy relationships – including working relationships are based on commitments. It makes sense. We commit to being a part of a team, doing our fair share, delivering a result to a customer, etc.
DOCUMENTATION: It’s time to realize that we can’t rely on our memory. Or our co-worker’s memory. Or our boss’ memory. There’s nothing wrong with taking notes and documenting stuff. Good communication is a balance between expectations and results. Don’t forget technology can help us with this.
INTERACTION: Without regular interaction, people make assumptions. Following-up with others is important, and it doesn’t need to be lengthy. Ingram shared a 3-sentence model for interacting with stakeholders.
- Past: Explain what we’ve done.
- Present: This is what we’re doing.
- Future: This is what we’re going to do next.
Our business communications don’t need to be long or elaborate. They do need to be effective. In fact, some might argue that if we can master the art of simplicity when it comes to our business communications, maybe more people would open our emails and read them.
What are your secrets for effective business communications? Leave us your tips in the comments.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Denver, CO14