Top tips for better communication

Business is all about people and relationships. No matter what industry you work in or what products or services you sell, it is all about people - customers, suppliers, staff, introducers, referrers etc. As such, communication is hugely important in any business.

With so much technology now available to us, there are times when we can miscommunicate. We assume that our emails were delivered, that our slides were attached, that the texts were received or that the answering machine works. Here are a few tips to help to improve your communication both inside your business and externally.

Ask questions

Asking for clarity is a sign of a great communicator. Never be afraid to ask questions to confirm that your understanding of the message being conveyed is correct. Asking questions also tells the other person that you are listening and that you are solidifying what you have heard.

Listen

Really listen. As you look at the other person, focus on what they are saying, not on your next meeting, to-do list or what you want to say next. Very often, people are so quick to talk that they forget to listen. Good communication involves both verbalising and active listening. In addition, when you are communicating with someone, let them know that you are listening with both your body language and responses such as, "Tell me more." Let others talk as they may answer your questions before you ask them.

Talk face-to-face

Much of our communication today is done without even seeing the person who works just a short walk away. Just a five-minute conversation can help us understand that person's perspective and clarify responsibilities. Equally, if you want to understand your customers - talk to them face to face.

Clear information

Before you pass information on to others, make sure that it is accurate and complete. This sounds very basic, but when we assume that the other person knows what project we are referring to, we provide an avenue for a problem. If we aren't clear, we create confusion and communication breaks down. Never make assumptions and always communicate clearly.

Confirm completion

Close the communication loop. When you are communicating with someone at work, make sure to go over each step clearly with them if it is something new. You can also ask for confirmation when the work is accomplished. People will often complete a task, but if you don't know it was completed, you still think about it, so ask that they close the loop with you by letting you know when it was finished. It's great to use technology to our advantage but sometimes we need to add a personal touch in order to achieve a better outcome.


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