The art of business communication is exactly that — an art. And like all but the greatest masterpieces, there's usually some room for improvement. Here are four simple tips to take your communications game to the next level. With a little practice, you can build trust, improve relationships, and break down barriers to understanding.
1. Listen as much as you talk. Communication is about the exchange of ideas. Often, people are too busy formulating a response or monitoring their own internal dialogue to listen effectively. To make sure you get the most out of your conversation, engage in "active listening." Focus on understanding, remembering, and restating the speaker's sentiments in your own words. Active listening encourages people to open up and explain their thoughts in detail. This helps avoid misunderstanding and builds a sense of trust.
2. Thank people for their input. In business, your associates, co-workers, and peers will often act as your eyes and ears. They may pick up on opportunities, issues, or problems you're unaware of. By thanking people for their feedback, you make them feel heard and keep lines of communication open.
3. Have tough conversations face to face. The tone of an email is difficult enough to interpret in day-to-day conversation. Nearly everyone has experienced an instance when a seemingly harmless email was construed as offensive. That tendency is amplified in tense situations. If you're having a disagreement or just can't get on the same page, have a face-to-face with the individual in question. It not only speeds up the process, it helps you rebuild rapport.
4. When someone screws up, don't copy the whole office. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Ordering errors, accounting slip-ups, and the occasional typo are inevitable. If you're on a group email and someone makes a mistake, point it out privately. This simple tip helps team members save face, and builds greater trust with your colleagues. If you don't want to be called out publically, don't do it to others. You'll be amazed how appreciative people are when you let them correct their own mistakes — out of the public eye. As Vince Lombardi famously said "Praise in public. Coach in private."
At TBS Capital Funding, we understand the importance of effective communication. When you factor invoices with us, you get a personal account representative who is ready to listen, understand your needs, and put you on a trajectory for success. Communicating with us is easy. And if we spot a tiny little typo in your email, we promise not to copy the whole office.