Communication is one of life’s most important skills, both in everyday relationships and in the workplace. If you can learn how to develop excellent communication skills, not only does it have the potential to improve relationships with your co-workers, but also your suppliers and most importantly, your customers. Here are five ways every small business owner can brush up on their communication skills.
1 Improve your listening skills
A great manager or business owner needs to have excellent listening skills. It can be one thing to hold a conversation, but to truly be able to listen and understand what a person is saying is a valuable attribute. A sign of emotional intelligence, a good listener knows when to speak and when to hold their tongue. If you’re looking to improve your listening skills, try active listening. A process where you’re encouraged to ask clarifying questions and rephrase the conversation, in order to ensure you understand exactly what the other person is saying.
2 Clearly convey your message
The ability to clearly communicate your message in a simple and concise manner is a worthwhile skill. Nowadays, everyone is short on time, with even shorter attention spans, so alway make sure you get straight to the point. Avoid drifting off topic or taking too long to convey your message and always offer clear, actionable steps following a meeting or conversation so everyone understands what’s next. Make sure you offer any time for questions in case anyone needs further clarity. Always deliver your message with confidence and clarity.
3 Display empathy
Empathy is clearly linked with emotional intelligence and demonstrates your ability to understand where someone is coming from and why they may be feeling a certain way. A good leader often displays empathy by listening to those around them and really seeking to hear what they have to say. Empathy should play a big role in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to employees and staff members as a small business owner. Even more importantly, having empathy towards your customers and their biggest pain points will make you a more effective business person.
4 Be present and active
Good communication skills are often limited to conversation, but there’s a host of nonverbal communication skills that are just as important. Make sure you play an active role in your business, listening to those around you and understand how your customers, staff members and stakeholders are feeling. Be proactive when it comes to addressing issues or holding meetings. Don’t let any problems fester but deal with any issues swiftly and quickly.
5 Open body language
So much of what we say comes not only from the words we speak, but also from our body language. To be an effective communicator, you need to learn how to use open body language – not closed. This means keeping your stance friendly and open, not folding your arms or clenching your fists. Always give good eye contact and keep your body relaxed and open. This will allows others to engage with you and feel like they can speak to you in an honest and open manner without fear of judgement.