Effective communication is often a neglected factor in management training – yet it is an essential component of the management skills toolbox. Good communication reduces the incidence of misunderstanding and consequent errors, and enables you to make your point quickly, clearly and persuasively. It also ensures that individual team members are more readily aligned to the vision and leadership of the organisation. This in turn serves to reduce the opportunity for disharmony, discontent or dissatisfaction in the workplace, and is supportive of a healthy working culture.
Poor communicators often make bad decisions
The way you communicate reflects the type of person you are. It gives an insight to your strengths and weaknesses and sets the tone for your business dealings. Poor communicators often make bad decisions, are poor negotiators and, worse still, can be ineffective business people.
If you are travelling on business, you will be dependent on your office back home to fulfil the vital role of delivering the contracts that you have secured. In this situation, the communications with your staff members will often be by email, telephone or fax and, if these connections are poor, the integrity of your communications may be lost. It is in such scenarios as these, that mixed or conflicting messages may be given or received and it is therefore vital to ensure that conversations and instructions are confirmed in writing so that any ambiguity is avoided.
Let your team know that you value them
Retaining highly experienced staff is always a problem in the competitive world of international business. Success brings with it the desire for greater reward and increased recognition and a staff member who feels that they are not valued by their employer will inevitably look for new challenges elsewhere, and often with the competition. Rewarding, recognising and developing talent within your team is essential if you are to retain the skills and expertise that make your business competitive and successful. It is essential that you communicate your appreciation for a job ‘well done’ on a regular basis. Let your team know that you value them.
Barriers to effective communication
Conflicts in business and in negotiations often arise, in part, due to misunderstandings brought about by differences in language and culture. The ability to appreciate that another’s behaviour is often culturally driven, and therefore appropriate in a given circumstance, is essential – notwithstanding that such behaviour may appear unusual to you.
When communications take place cross-culturally, every effort needs to be made to keep it clear, simple and unambiguous. Avoid Jargon and humour until you know that the person you’re communicating with “appreciates it” and will not be offended. Humour is culture-specific. Many things that pass for humour in one culture can be seen as offensive in another.
There is much more to learn about business communication, but if you follow this simple advice it will be the first step to ensure that your business communication enables you to positively influence decisions by being clearly understood. Good luck with all that!
If you want to further study the secrets of business communication, read “Essential Communication Secrets” by Carole Spiers Group.