“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Communication is an essential attribute to the success of any business as it is a key activity that every entrepreneur takes part in. Whether it is with team members, potential investors or clients, entrepreneurs spend a lot of their time communicating.
The Radicati Group, Inc.— a Technology Market Research Firm in Palo Alto, USA—released an Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019 which revealed that 205.6 billion emails are sent across the globe on a daily basis.
In 2014, A Gallup Survey was carried out on 1,015 people to see how frequently they had used a variety of communication methods the previous day. 73% said they had read or sent a text, 82% had made a phone call on a cell phone, 70% had sent or received an email and 55% percent had used social media to communicate.
Additionally, according to a study performed by Watson Wyatt in 2013, businesses with effective communication practices were more than 50% more likely to record employee turnover levels below the industry average.
These statistics clearly highlight the relevance of communication in the world of business today.
Modes of Business Communication
When communication is mentioned, most people tend to limit its definition to writing and speaking alone. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines communication as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviour.
By this definition, it is clear to see that communication goes beyond the written and the spoken word. Here are some ways we communicate in business:
Emails, proposals, contracts, memos, excerpts and articles are a few of the major form of written communication that exist in the world of business today.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to master all these forms of written communication to ensure effective communication of ideas. A badly written email or a poorly written proposal can deal considerable damage even to a thriving business venture.
Throughout the entrepreneurs’ business journey, they will require to speak publicly numerous times. Whether by getting on a stage to pitch to an audience, speaking on a panel or conducting team meetings; public speaking is unavoidable for an entrepreneur.
Therefore, it is important to consciously develop these skills until they are mastered. Some individuals are naturally skilled in the art of public speaking while others need to overcome obstacles like shyness or lack of eloquence. The only way to surmount these challenges is with constant practice. As an entrepreneur, never turn down a speaking opportunity. Do your best to read books from experts on the subject and take coaching lessons online. More importantly, never be afraid to seek help.
A lot of people do not recognise listening as a communication skill but it might be the most important of all. The art of active listening can help an entrepreneur have more productive conversations, foster favourable negotiations and mediate conflicts. Many challenges faced in business transactions are rooted in a lack of proper communication and this can happen when one or more of the parties involved do not know how to listen.
Before you respond to that client or oppose that idea at your next meeting, make sure you’re giving the conversation your total attention. Listening is an invaluable skill that every entrepreneur must possess.
Although presentations involve speaking, it falls into a class of its own because of its unique requirement. A presentation is a means of representing your business ideas through visual media—pictures, text, diagrams and/or videos.
It is a form of communication that must be learnt by all entrepreneurs because it could be the difference between success and failure in business. Before making a presentation, one must have a clear objective and must consider the audience they are presenting to.
For example, a presentation to the board of directors of a coffee production company will be very different from a presentation to a team of fabric designers. If you find yourself lacking in this skill as an entrepreneur, search for books on the subject or seek resources online to equip yourself with the knowledge that you need.
Mastering communication through body language is an important requirement for every entrepreneur. Your business partners, teammates, employees and potential investors will be paying close attention to your non-verbal cues.
Be sure to learn the art of proper posture, making eye contact and keeping a welcoming facial expression always. These pointers and more may not seem important but they could help you secure many opportunities in business. On the flipside, you may sabotage a lot of potential investments by ignoring these simple but vital tips. It is also important to learn to pay close attention to the body language of your business partners, clients and employees as it will help you in analysing situations and ultimately communicating more effectively.
All things considered, it is clear to see that communication is much deeper than a mere skill an entrepreneur simply needs to attach to business. Instead, it is a valuable asset that must be cultivated and allowed to permeate every facet of life until it becomes as easy as breathing.