According to QuintCareers.com, the ability of an employee to communicate effectively via excellent listening, speaking and writing skills is the most highly valued quality in a job candidate. With a slumping job market, the ability to enhance your communication skills could improve your chances of getting hired. Effective communication in a business environment encompasses several important qualities.
Effective business communication should be structured. Organizing information in a logical, easy-to-understand manner increases the ability of the listener or reader to comprehend the message and makes you more likely to persuade the recipients of your message to agree with what you have to say. Structured communication allows you to effectively incorporate the necessary aspects of an argument in a way that allows you to be sure you are not missing any pieces of the puzzle. Finally, structured messages are easier to retain, as the logical formatting is much easier to remember. For example, when giving a presentation to your employers about a potential advertising campaign, organize the discussion of the benefits by categories, such as customer retention, new customer generation and availability of advertising venues. Structure like this breaks down information into understandable chunks.
Communication in a business setting should always be transparent. Transparency refers to how much information you reveal about company dealings, developments and policies. Honesty and openness can inspire trust in your supervisors and co-workers and ensures that everyone has the necessary information on a subject, leading to better decision making.
Deloitte LLP, a financial services and consulting firm, conducted a survey of employees across a wide range of industries in 2008, finding that "72 percent of respondents agree that if their boss was more open about his/her need to take time off during regular work hours for personal reasons, it would create a more engaging and productive environment."
One of the critical aspects of effective communication in a business setting is a dedication to accuracy in information transmitted. Inaccurate communication can cause a variety of problems, ranging from poor decision making to time lost due to poor direction. It can also cause a lack of trust in co-workers and supervisors, causing internal tensions in the workplace. Communicators who place a high premium on accuracy of information--even if it takes them a little longer to construct their messages--are highly valued because of their reliability.
Commitment to accuracy requires a series of steps. Initially, individuals must be committed to research. They must be willing to find all of the information available and relevant to the issue they will be communicating on. They must also be willing to research both sides of the story, so they will better understand the entirety of the issue and be able to construct effective arguments. Finally, they should always cite their research to provide not only data, but evidence of that data, thereby increasing the credibility of the accurate information.
The workforce today is more diverse than it has ever been. As such, the ability of a communicator to practice sensitivity in his interactions in a business setting is highly valuable. Sensitive communicators are more effective because they take into account the cultural differences in communication styles, adapting their message so that it will be well received by the intended audience. A lack of sensitivity can damage client and interoffice relations by inadvertently causing offense.
This issue is increasingly important in today's workforce. According to the National Institute for Public Policy and Education, by 2020, white caucasian representation in the work force will have dropped 20 percent since 1980. A study published in Transnational Corporations in April of 2006 found that more companies are doing business internationally today than ever before. For these reasons, more and more companies are including diversity sensitivity training for employees and are issuing mission statements regarding the development of a diverse workforce. To adapt to this new atmosphere, sensitivity to other cultures and diverse personnel must be a part of any effective communication strategy.
Effective communication in business should always be high energy. Enthusiasm is contagious. The more energized the speaker and his message, the more likely the recipients of that message are to be excited as well. Communicators with high energy levels are more socially adept and persuasive, making them valuable members of any business' team.
A high-energy communicator incorporates humor, anecdotes, motivational messages and hard data to create a persuasive message. Nonverbal habits like standing up straight, using consistent eye contact, speaking at a slightly louder volume, smiling, and varying pitch and tone can increase the perceived energy of your message.
- Accel Team Development: Business Communication Skills
- "Business Communication"; Harvard Business School Press (Compiler); 2003
- "Business Communication: Building Critical Skills"; Kitty O. Locker and Stephen Kyo Kaczmarek; 2004
- QuintCareers.com: What Do Employers Really Want?
- Photo Credit Group of business people working together in the office.. image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com