Effective business communication, for the business professional, is already above average. However you and I know that business communication needs to be constantly added, improved and enhanced in order to keep us growing and to stay in the race of effective leadership.
Three important areas of communication in business are found in meetings, writings and presentations. Two of these require verbal activities and one written. Effective business communication means that meetings need to be lead (not let to happen). Writing needs to be clear, and presenting needs to be credible.
Here are three ways to enhance your effective business communication:
#1 – Effective business communication – Meetings need to be lead (not let to happen):
Let’s face it, most business colleagues hate meetings. Why? Because they are usually too long, unfocused, un-lead, boring, and too frequent.
So how does one undo this image of meetings?
For one thing, don’t call meetings on a moment’s notice, as too many do, and drag your people on for hours, taking away from their already overloaded work schedules. That’s one sure way to discourage them from coming to your meetings — let alone liking them.
It is good to realize that meetings cost a company a lot of money. If you have 5 people in your meeting who make twenty dollars an hour and you keep them for three hours, that’s three hundred dollars direct financial loss right there.
Then you have the actual time and productivity loss that each of the people is responsible for within each their department. While they are in the meeting, they are not working at their job function. If these are sales people the value lost is even multiplied.
So, one way to enhance your effective business communication within your meeting activities is to think of the cost of the meeting, then decide if it can wait for another day, then plan ahead, organize and edit it for maximum impact, giving it a definite shortest possible time-frame to get to the result that is expected of the meeting.
#2 – Effective business communication – Writing needs to be clear:
From what I hear people tell me, not many business folks like putting letters and memos together. It is a very happy person who enjoys this task. How efficient is your writing? Do you have a process that you go through before you begin writing?
If not, here’s some help: First, know the purpose you are writing about. Write directly to your reader. Write a draft first and don’t worry about mistakes.
Then re-arrange your draft into 1) a summary of your idea or purpose. 2) a summary of the actions you require of your reader as to who will do what (I, we, you, or personal name).
If the content is long, it is better to use two easy-to-read pages than one page stuffed with too much information and data that’s hard to follow. Break it down with the summary of your idea or purpose then refer to the actions to be taken which you outline clearly on the second page.
Revise and correct for sentence construction and grammar. Read as if you were receiving the letter. Then edit out unnecessary wordings. Add summary headings to paragraphs to make for easy scanning and reading.
#3 – Effective business communication – Presentations need to be credible:
You’ve all heard that the first impression counts. Well the last does too, and everything in between. The first impression captures the attention, the last leaves a feeling (bad or good) on your audience and the content in-between gives you credibility.
To make the introduction positive, point out the benefits to the audience of listening to what you have to say. Show the relevance to the concern or purpose. The idea is to answer the question: “Why should we listen to you?” before they even ask silently or out-loud.
Organize your presentation as you do your writing, first on a draft. Then break it down into point-form items, which you each write up on 3×5 or 4×6 cards to keep you on track or use transparencies or power-point.
Effective business communication is a continuous effort that is not drudgery but that is fun and interesting and required for continuous business success and leadership./dmh