Communication is one of the most important skills in business.
In fact, workplace communication statistics (from a study by Salesforce that included not only employees but also corporate executives and educators) reveal that 86% of them believe ineffective communication is the underlying reason for workplace failures.
In another study by McKinsey, teams who communicate effectively increase their productivity by as much as 25%.
Yet, many finance professionals struggle with communicating effectively. What can you do to improve?
Here are fail-proof 5 tips that will help you:
1. Listen Actively
Communication is a two-way endeavour. What most people do is go on talking and talking without listening to what the other party is saying.
Active listening is a skill, and you have to learn it.
Active listening means you’re fully present and engaged in the conversation; it’s not about zoning out while your co-worker drones on. It’s about trying not to interrupt while they’re talking and clarifying anything you don’t understand.
Active listening also means paying adequate attention to clearly understand (not just hear) what the other person is saying. This means getting a hold of, not just the content, but the context of what they’re saying.
When you listen actively, you understand the discussion. What is bound to happen next is communicating effectively back to the person because you understand them.
2. Be clear and concise
Another essential step towards effective communication is to ensure your listeners understand you.
This is accented by being clear and concise. Why? Because clear and concise communication improves understanding.
Don’t leave details to the imagination. Talk about what you mean, not what you *think* the other person wants to understand.
Being clear and concise lets you keep the integrity of what you are trying to get across without creating confusion or miscommunication. It lets people around you know what your expectations are.
Clear and concise communication means not beating around the bush. Get to the point quickly. Keep your sentences short but have enough depth to help others understand what you are trying to say.
Don’t cloud your message with competing ideas. Use examples if appropriate to support your communication.
3. Use simple language
Another way to improve the chances of others understanding what you’re saying is to use simple language when speaking.
Avoid jargon or acronyms that might be unfamiliar to the reader. Instead, lay it out simply so that people outside your profession could understand what you’re talking about.
Simple language avoids unnecessary words that don’t convey the message. It uses simple, straightforward words to make it easier for your listener to understand what you’re saying.
4. Be prepared
This is a given. It is easier to communicate when you know what you’re talking about. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
Being prepared means you have an adequate idea of what you are discussing, you’re knowledgeable about your topic, and you understand the basics of what you are trying to communicate.
If it is a formal meeting, try to do proper research beforehand and come prepared with information. If it is a casual chat, it’s important to be as honest as you can.
This helps you have a smooth conversation without wasting time or ending it abruptly.
5. Stay true to yourself
When communicating with others, don’t try to be someone or something you’re not.
There are a lot of communication styles out there but the one that works best is the one that’s most authentic to you.
Being yourself is not always easy, but it’s definitely easier than pretending to be someone else.
For instance, the world is now a global community and it’s common to have people from different cultures and countries as your colleagues. Whether you’re working remotely from home or at an office, there’ll be instances of being in a meeting with people from different cultures and you’ll find they have their communication styles.
What you want to do is not try to talk like them, especially if English is not your first language. Be yourself and let your personality shine through while using the above tips to make your communication clear and understandable.
We hope these tips helped you improve your communication skills.
Being able to communicate effectively not only helps your work but also allows you to get along better with people, whether it’s your colleagues or even just within yourself.
Try applying these tips in real-life situations and see how they play out!