Many workplaces are pure meritocracies, in which workers advance through their skills, applied knowledge and hard work. However, one key component of business success that many students overlook is communication. All types of business communication skills, such as verbal and written forms, serve to provide an impression of your capabilities. Set the right tone and convey competence by using the following business communication tips. You can begin practicing them while you’re still an undergraduate so you will be ready to pursue success upon graduation.
Verbal Business Communication Tips
In the workplace, it’s a good idea to project confidence. Know that it’s acceptable to pause for a few seconds before responding to a question. This lets the other person know that you’re giving the question serious consideration. Plus, it gives you time to develop an intelligent response.
Another way to project confidence is to avoid using filler words. It’s widely known that “um” and “uh” are of these that ought to be avoided. However, you might be using more filler words than you realize. Many people overuse the following words and phrases: “actually,” “just,” “to be honest,” and “you know.” Ask your friends and family to help you identify the filler words you commonly use in conversations. Then, work on cutting them out of your vocabulary.
Another important consideration in business communication skills is the directness of your speech. In general, it’s best to be as direct and concise as possible. For example, instead of giving this vague feedback: “Josh, do you think you could work on improving that Flanders proposal?” you might say this: “Josh, will you have time to revise the Flanders proposal this afternoon? I have a list of suggestions I can email to you.”
Although directness is usually desirable, there may be times when it’s best to start the conversation in a less direct manner. For example, let’s say you know that your coworker, Josh, put a lot of effort into the Flanders proposal. However, the client isn’t satisfied. You might start the conversation by saying something like: “Josh, I thought you did a great job on the Flanders proposal. It’s well-written and comprehensive. However, I do have a few suggestions for you.” Josh will be left with the impression that you appreciate his hard work and you understand the task was a difficult one.
Non-Verbal Communication Considerations
Not all business communication is verbal. Your non-verbal communication cues will speak volumes about yourself. Use body language that suggests you are approachable and open to collaboration. Avoid crossing your arms and instead maintain an “open” posture with your body oriented toward the other person. Stay relaxed but avoid slouching. Show interest and engagement by maintaining eye contact for a few seconds before looking away briefly. During meetings, you’ll want to avoid fidgeting and doodling. Keep your head upright and try to avoid touching your face.
Business Email Advice
Email is widely used in all types of organizations. It’s usually best to err on the side of caution and maintain a higher level of formality in your emails. In other words, avoid using emojis, slang and any abbreviations that are not widely used in the industry. Additionally, use a clear and specific subject line. For example, instead of using this subject line: “Tuesday’s Meeting” you should use this: “Agenda Document for Tuesday’s Meeting on Investor Relations.”
Start your email with a formal greeting, such as “Dear Ms. Garcia.” If your initial email results in a lot of back-and-forth emails, it’s acceptable to drop the greeting in these subsequent emails. The body of your email should be concise and direct. Get right to the point while maintaining a professional tone. After writing the email, set it aside for a few minutes, and then re-read it with fresh eyes. Correct typos and grammar mistakes ensure correct capitalization and determine whether it would be possible for the recipient to misinterpret your tone. If so, revise as needed.
Social Media Communication Guidance
If you are responsible for managing the company’s social media accounts, you must always follow your employers’ style guidelines when composing posts. Always strive to portray the company in a positive light, and to write content that aligns with the company’s brand voice. Avoid potentially controversial statements.
Outside of the company’s social media accounts, millions of employees have their own personal profiles. You do not need to follow strict grammar rules on your own personal posts. However, do be aware that some companies monitor their employees’ personal accounts. At-will workers and some contract employees may be subject to discipline if they post content that shares proprietary secrets or disparages their coworkers, supervisors or customers. Even if you have privacy settings enabled, it’s possible for your posts to become public knowledge. Always exercise caution and discretion. The same applies to personal websites and blogs.
At Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business, students develop invaluable communication, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills while preparing for their future career. Choose from a wide array of modern degree programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Applied Entrepreneurship degree and the Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree. Click on Request Info at the top of your screen to plan your future at GCU.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.