Succeeding in your career isn’t easy. There’s a lot of variables to account for – charisma, confidence, and the technical skills that come with your job are to name a few.
But there’s one group of skills that trumps everything else out there.
Specifically, I’m talking the importance of business communication skills.
In its simplest terms, business communication is the act of an organization’s stakeholders sharing information for commercial benefit. It can be internal (e.g., employees discussing options in a meeting) or external (e.g., holding a presentation for a potential client).
Oh, and there’s something else you need to know.
The importance of business communication should never be overlooked.
Every single thing you do, from your first ever day on the job to the day you retire, revolves around sound business communication principles.
Don’t believe me? Well, let me try and convince you.
To get noticed, you have to show your business communication skills from the get-go.
This means that your CV and application letter need to articulate how you’re a perfect fit for the company you’re applying to.
If what you submitted catches the eye of a recruiter, you may just be called on for an interview.
And let’s not fool ourselves: Recruiters very much value the importance of communication skills, and look for them in potential candidates. I would even argue that such capabilities may very well be the deciding factor between an offer letter and a “we’ll keep in touch and let you know what happens.”
The better relationship you have with your boss, the more likely you’ll rock your career.
And the only way to foster a productive relationship with a manager is through demonstrating useful business communication skills.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? How on earth could your manager even think you’re a superstar if you don’t find a way to express how awesome you are?
But, there is a caveat.
Your communication skills don’t necessarily matter, but your boss’ interpretation of these skills do.
You have to tailor your communications skills to what your boss requires. If you like to write long emails while your boss likes ones that are short and to the point, then it’s worth taking things down a notch.
Similarly, if your boss doesn’t have the time to stick around for a lengthy presentation, then start getting used to only communicating the critical points of your message.
Stuff like this matters. Trust.
If you’re fortunate enough to work with a team, then you’re expected to do things with your co-workers like discuss problems, request for support, challenge ideas and support opinions.
But for effective communication to even exist, there has to be respect between you and your co-workers. Earning trust, being clear, and working in unison are all things that you will need to practice to widen the channels between everyone involved.
Result? Less conflict and more cooperation, which leads to more work and a happier work day.
Do I need to go into this one?
If you plan to sell a damn thing in your life, then understanding the importance of business communication is a must.
The key is being able to respond to client requirements and concerns with solutions to their problems.
Do it right, and you’ll be able to persuade your client to do anything.
Do it wrong, and you’ll end up with a client who hates you.
Heck, there are even different types of public speaking activities that you can use depending on the objectives of your message.
The sheer complexity of it all only strengthens the notion of mastering communication in the workplace.
And if you’re still not convinced, then go ahead and try to give an effective presentation with a lackluster skill-set. I dare you.
Believe it or not, mastering business communication isn’t that hard.
Sure, it does take a lot of practice and a complete change in mindset, but it can be done.
There are only three things you have to do.
I don’t mean respect in a “I acknowledge business communication exists” kind of way. I mean it in a “this is a skill that will get me places, so I need to work on it” kind of way.
Doing this will move the importance of business communication from the back of your mind all the way to the front. Furthermore, it will help you look out for the more delicate details, and assess the better communicators in the world to see how they do things.
For instance, I always loved how Mark Cuban cut through all the fluff in his one-to-one talks and got straight to the point. I’ve since followed this approach in my discussions and gain a lot of confidence in the process.
Indeed, you must know how to express yourself through different means. But to truly master the art of business communication, you need to get your listening skills in check.
Listening involves more than merely hearing words that come out of someone’s mouth. You genuinely have to take the time to understand everything that is being channeled to you, and then translating that message into a response that chimes interest.
And by the way, some well-known figures take this principle to heart. For instance, Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t said a word during courtroom discussions in 10 friggin years.
Don’t believe that excellent business communicators are born and not made. You can do this!
All you have to do is make a conscious effort to keep practicing. Keep refining your methods as you go, and change how you approach things depending on the scenario.
If you make mistakes, then don’t sweat it. You’re bound to. Just remember that even the biggest giants fall in this space.
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