Having looked at a few scenarios in Part 1, let us consider some conventional communication skills.
Information &Communication Technology (ICT)
How do you maximize your information and communication tech?
ICT makes a business more efficient, effective, and promptly respond to customers’ needs (Beirut Arab University, 2020). Communication technology is the bedrock of modern business. There are a variety of uses of communication technology that improve business performance. Communication technology is more than just a tool you can use to tighten a few nuts and bolts here and there in your organization (Nicky, 2019).
Businesses use ICT to reach out to the world. Companies are run today from cubicles with high-tech gadgets to connect to the world. Large transactions are done from devices, as small as a computer mouse, meetings, and sometimes projects are executed online (virtual teams), saving organizations hundreds of thousands in logistics. Team members relate via mobile apps, updating videos, photos, and reports online. The level of human involvement has reduced considerably. Information is updated in real-time and transmitted to the server where authorized parties can access it. Conflicts on project sites have reduced drastically with cameras that capture and share real-time videos with sponsors and interested stakeholders. The application of technology in business is enormous, from small numbers to large, data processing, improved customer service to change control, and high competitiveness. No firm can strive exceptionally without technology.
Conversely, technology is not without its downside. Companies have lost billions to cyber-attacks and other related activities, so security is a concern to consider when sourcing the right technology to avoid information breaches.
Get the right technology; get more business.
Have you ever regretted not documenting an agreement?
Written communication that has basic grammar and punctuation errors, repetition, or missing words will create a negative image in the reader’s mind and, in the case of erroneous financial information or other numerical data, can have far-reaching consequences (Communicaid Group Limited, 2021).
Written communication starts with the 5cs- clarity, cohesiveness, completeness, conciseness, and concreteness. It is necessary to reflect all five attributes in documents (hard or soft). Clarity of thoughts facilitates understanding. The cohesiveness of logical ideas links the different ideas for easy transition from line to line, paragraph to paragraph, page to page. Completeness of information captures every relevant detail. Concise words ensure that there are no repetitions. And lastly, the concreteness of information, guarantees that the content of the message is valid.
Written communication is best for solving complex communication problems that involve liabilities and responsibilities. Owing to its ability to establish contracts and retain relevance over a longer time than spoken communication.
Some influential stakeholders have a way of doing things differently. Even when they understand the implications, they may still expect you to do otherwise, like carrying out a spoken instruction without formal approval. It is crucial to document such spoken instructions and have the relevant stakeholder(s) sign off on them so you are not held responsible for the consequences that may follow.
Have you said something before that you later regretted?
Effective speaking involves three main areas: The words you choose, how you say them, and how you reinforce them with other non-verbal communication (Skills You Need, n.d.). Words go a long way to brighten up, inspire or break a person. The business environment consists of people of diverse backgrounds, so when you speak, avoid cultural bias, gender insensitivity, and unethical expressions. Be clear and audible, use familiar terms and anecdotes that your audience can relate to, to avoid getting your wires crossed with them.
Some stakeholders are resistant, so talking to them is like talking to a brick wall. The moment you notice such an attitude, rephrase your language or style. You may even need to butter them up to make them do what they would not do ordinarily.
As much as you can show confidence and charisma when you speak, it portrays ability.
How well do you communicate with gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc.?
Approximately 93 percent of communication is nonverbal, while words account for only 7 percent, tone of voice makes up 38 percent of communication, and body language and facial expressions constitute 55 percent, according to Albert Mehrabian, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCPath Center, n.d.). Thus, nonverbal communication is used more often than other forms of communication. So we should become more aware henceforth, to use them properly to our advantage. Communicating positive nonverbal cues when speaking with employees can increase employee morale and job performance (Marie, 2019). From Marie's assertion, it is crucial for business heads to create positive vibes with the right nonverbal communication skills to trigger the desired job performance at work.
When you feel that a person is not telling the truth, check out the alignment between words, voice, and body (Changing Minds, n.d.). Nonverbal communication shows your level of sincerity and confidence and can tell a lot about you, so it is essential to guard your emotions, especially when in public. When you practice your gestures, you will be able to align them with your spoken words to avoid conflicting expressions when you combine both your verbal and nonverbal communications skills.
You can also use impression management to attract the loyalty of your target audience during a speech. More like emotional intelligence, so you need to investigate your potential prospects before you meet them to understand their preferences and expectations and tailor your attitude likewise.
When last did you respond to a conversation without really listening?
Listening: the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and, or non-verbal messages-International Listening Association.
It is vital to decipher what the messenger is conveying- express or implied meaning before reacting.
The three main types of listening most common in interpersonal communication are Informational Listening (Listening to learn), Critical Listening (listening to evaluate and analyze), and Therapeutic or Emphatic Listening (listening to understand feeling and emotion) (Skills You Need, n.d.). With this in mind, it is easier to make something out of every listening opportunity instead of letting such an opportunity slide.
For truly effective communication, business people must hone their listening skills to ensure they fully understand the whole message: not just the content, but the motivation behind what’s being said, the circumstances around which they’re conversing, even what gets left out of the conversation (John T. W., n.d.). Good listening produces proper documentation to facilitate implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and the desired result(s).
Good listening requires you to hear clearly, what the speaker says. So you must let the speaker know if they are not audible enough. More so, it is necessary to avoid all forms of distractions when you listen. Focus on what is said to understand and respond accordingly and to store for future use. A project starts to fail when proper listening is lacking for proper documentation during requirements gathering and documentation.
Listening aids understanding, feedback, follow-up questions, and clarifications. As much as you can, maintain eye contact and give appropriate feedback to motivate your speaker to say more and explain deeper.
To avoid any form of bias from the speaker, maintain an open mind without showing excessive sentiment while you listen. Also try as much as possible not to interrupt or impose expressions on the speaker as this could make them lose track of their speech.