Types of Business Communication Skills

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Business communication encompasses many things. Advertising, marketing, speech writing, sales, product development, investor relations -- the list goes on. Regardless of the industry, the four most important areas of business communication are public speaking/presentations, marketing, social media and networking.

Writing

First of all, however, writing is a key skill that anyone at any level of business -- regardless of the industry -- should know how to do well. You should practice this skill if you feel your writing isn't up to standards. Read about your line of work in trade publications, magazines and newspapers to get an idea of the style you should strive for in your writing. If you feel your writing skills are on target, continue to practice them by taking advantage of every writing opportunity that comes your way. Even the e-mails and text messages you send are good ways of evaluating your writing. Ask for criticism from peers or co-workers. Although it may be tough to hear, it is always beneficial to have an objective opinion.

Presentations and Public Speaking

Most people in their business careers will have to give presentations to a group of people -- large or small. Public speaking goes hand in hand with presentations. If you aren't comfortable speaking in front of an audience, you should overcome that fear as soon as you can. Presentations make a significant statement about you as a professional and your command of your business or field. Nobody wants to listen to -- or take advice from -- someone who is stuttering and stumbling through a speech or presentation. The impression is long-lasting, so make it a good one.

The age-old exercise of practicing in front of the mirror is a really good way to become comfortable speaking to groups. Videotaping yourself is also a great way to pick out your strengths and weaknesses. Do you look down at your feet a lot? Does your voice trail off? Are you speaking too fast? These are all things you can correct if you do your homework. The extra time and effort you put into your preparation will pay off in the end.

Marketing

Marketing is omnipresent in every industry. Everyone needs it and everyone does it to some extent. As a business professional, you not only need to market your company, service or product, but you need to be able to market yourself. You are your own salesperson, and knowing how to get your name and/or company out there to the right people and businesses is advantageous to your success and the success of your company. There are many tools available to you, such as advertising, direct mail, product demos, special events and giveaways. As a business professional, you need to be able to leverage all of the tools available to you and use them as effectively as you can.

Social Media

For those of you who aren't familiar with this new trend, learn about it now, as new social media outlets keep popping up all over the place. If you fall behind them now, you'll find yourself scrambling to catch up. So what's all the buzz about Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, to name a few? These three trends are changing the way people, especially young people, communicate with one another. Young adults ages 13 to 24 are a critical consumer group. Businesses and businesspeople need to know how to reach them in the most effective way. So if you haven't already, start blogging, build a presence on Facebook and MySpace, and become skilled at Twittering your company's key messages and phrases.

Networking

Networking is an age-old activity and the one thing that will probably remain unaffected by technology. That's because networking, when done the right way, involves simple human interaction. Networking is all about meeting the right people, starting conversations and building key relationships. For those who want to get ahead and position their business or company in the best possible place, networking is a necessity. Industry conferences, get-togethers after work and charity events provide excellent opportunities to meet people and put your best foot forward for you and your business.

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