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Effective Communication for your Business

Communication is a fundamental part of interaction between people and of every business interaction. So if communication is a skill we all have, why does poor communication still occur? It is not that individuals are bad at communicating; it is just that communication styles and the method of communication adopted may not be appropriate for the information or messages delivered.

The following tips may help you make your communications more clearly understood by those you need to communicate with, and in turn establish a good communication standard for your business.

1. Choose an appropriate medium. Technological advances mean that we now have a variety of means to communicate. Today face-to-face communication is often supplemented and even replaced with phone calls, emails, text messages, online calls or instant messages. Before sending that email, text message etc, assess if your objective is more efficiently achieved by face-to-face communication like a meeting.

Selecting the appropriate medium for communication is important, and it is necessary to consider the nature of the message you are going to convey. For example, giving feedback on an employee’s report by emailing them ‘good effort’ can lead to ambiguity in the interpretation. It could be read as both positive or negative feedback and this can lead to confusion – should the employee leave the work as it was a good effort, or should they revisit it because although it was deemed a good effort, it actually requires more work?

Generally, negative information should be delivered in the most personal manner possible, and this is by face-to-face communication. Think about what you are going to say and remember that up to 70% of communication comes through non-verbal means such as facial expressions and body language. If you are angry, wait until you have calmed down. Choose your words carefully.

2. Give the right information. Too much or too little information can lead to ineffective communication. Too little information can leave the recipient guessing, whereas too much information can lead to an overload, and it is more likely that tasks or pieces of information will be forgotten, or slip through the proverbial cracks.

3. Make your message clear. Your communications should answer all the questions relevant to your audience: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

For example, when explaining something, passing along a message, or asking someone to complete a task for you, ensure that the message is understood by the recipient. A simple measure such as asking the recipient to confirm their understanding of your message will ensure that you are both clear about what has been conveyed.

When sending a message:

  • Be sensitive to the content when choosing the medium of communication
  • Give the appropriate amount of information, and
  • Check that your message has been understood by your audience.  

Remember, that many businesses are required to keep copies of all their communications – don’t email, mail, or circulate anything that you would not feel comfortable having read publicly or in a court case. 

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