Effective business communication is essential for a small business to be successful. It doesn't matter whether you are communicating with your oldest friend, the neighbor from down the street, another small business owner, or the multi-millionaire that you meet at a business luncheon. It doesn't matter whether you are in an informal setting, at a networking event, on an elevator, or sending an email to a client or a prospective business partner, how you deliver your message can matter more than the message itself.
Have you noticed that news anchors tend to talk in a universal language? No matter where you go they all look and sound the same. Why is that? Simple, it's because what they have to say is important and they want you to understand what they are saying. This is what communication is, one person delivers a message and the other person receives and understands the message.
Here are a couple of tips for better business communication.
- Use proper grammar - Remember that slang has its time and place and, in a formal setting, should be avoided at all costs. Remember that first impressions are everything. No matter how talented or experienced you may be, when you use slang in a formal setting, you aren't taken seriously. Slang is not universal language and different slang words can be perceived differently depending on your geographical location. Most importantly, remember that just because someone looks like you does not mean that they understand the same slang lingo as you.
- Minimize Buzzwords - Buzzwords are used for one thing, to impress. Although, they can be used in a setting with your peers, who understand the same terminology, refrain from using buzzwords with clients. Your clients need to understand what you are saying. Using buzzwords to impress can quickly turn your clients away simply because they don't understand the jargon that you are speaking.
- Send Clear and Concise Emails - Emails have become the most used form of business communication. Some send hundreds of emails daily. When contacting someone by email, remember that this is still a formal form of communication. The following information should be clearly stated in your email
- Who you are - The most important information in any form of communication is stating who you are. You should do this at the beginning of the email and at the end in an email signature.
- What do you do - This is information that validates who you are.
- What you want - This should be clearly stated. Refrain from using industry specific terms and buzzwords. If your email is not understood, it could end up in the trash.
- Action Item - An action item should be included. Tell the reader what you want them to do. Don't assume that they already know.
- Thanks You - Thank the reader for taking time to read your email. This is just a common courtesy that is missing from many business communications.
What advice do you have in regards to effective business communication?