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Small Business Tips

5 easy ways to improve your business communication skills

Manasa Reddigari

In business, your communications can make or break important deals and relationships. So how do you communicate more effectively to your customers, partners and employees? Read on for five ways you can improve your business communication skills today.

1. Expand business vocabulary

Some of the best business communicators have a specialized glossary of jargon specific to their industry. These keywords and phrase allow them to explain their vision no matter how complex or technical it is.  Taking software-based business language training is a simple way to expand your niche vocabulary. So is reading industry-specific books, magazines or dictionaries. For a free option, peruse websites in your industry until the business jargon is hard-wired in your vocabulary.

2. Master digital communication

Emojis and slang have made digital communications more personal but less formal than ever before. But you shouldn't treat digital communications any less seriously than oral or written communications. Type emails and chat messages as though read by anyone in your business. Employ discretion and diplomacy no matter whom you are addressing. Also, avoid using slang or colloquialisms that not all recipients will understand or appreciate. Using straightforward terms will help prevent misunderstandings or unnecessary provocations. More importantly, it will convey that you are a professional.

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3. Listen more

Famed financier Bernard Baruch once said, "Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." We often hear that influential leaders tell it like they see it. But voices of your champions and critics can be equally vital in advancing your business.  Introduce a feedback loop into your organization. Or, personally solicit the advice of others and incorporate it into your business strategy. You will often be surprised by the tangible and intangible benefits your business receives in return.

4. Stay on track

Everyone has attended a business meeting that veered off topic and then went beyond schedule. One of the hallmarks of a robust oral communicator is laser-focus and smooth continuity in thoughts expressed.  Aim to identify the goal of business discussions beforehand. Then, be clear, concise and to the point in delivering or extracting the information you need. You don't have to be terse. But avoid frequent pauses in your sentences or filler words like "umm." This short and sweet style of communication can drive your goals forward faster. It also respects the limited time everyone in your business has.

5. Practice makes perfect

Not even the greatest orators became master communicators overnight. It takes patience and practice to improve your business communication skills. Identify the skills you are lacking and then gradually work to gain them.  If you want to bolster your digital communication skills, practice by typing business letters to yourself. Not confident in your verbal communications? Attend a seminar at your local business association to hear how the pros communicate. Or, join a professional organization like Toastmasters to enhance your public speaking skills. Eventually, you will gain the confidence and know-how to communicate with individuals at every level of the business.

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