Business Communication Skills: How to Build this Effective Tool in Your Leadership Arsenal

Business Communication Skills: How to Build this Effective Tool in Your Leadership Arsenal

Business communication skills (or the lack of them, thereof) can either make or break a leader. Great leaders are often singled out for their powerful communication skills.

You don’t need to the most talkative to communicate powerfully and be the voice everyone listens to.

Business communication skills – both verbal and written – matter in the workplace.  It all boils down to how clearly you can convey your thoughts and ideas and connect with your listener or reader.

Here is how you can strengthen your position as a leader of people in your organization through honing your communication skills:

Secrets to Building Strong Business Communication Skills

1. All great communicators are excellent listeners

Great communication always involves listening and tuning in. Part of being “tuned in” is being aware of the context of the conversation.  What mood is the person you are talking to in? What are their top concerns right now? Are they bringing any “baggage” (either personal or work-related) that you should be aware of? Asking good questions and really listening to the answers as well as paying attention to visible cues and body language are all components of communicating with effect.

If you’re only talking, then you aren’t really communicating because chances are you haven’t noticed if the person you’re speaking with has really absorbed your message.

Start by listening actively and then, only after processing what you’ve heard, convey your own ideas.

2. Strong communication doesn’t always require fancy words

Being an excellent communicator doesn’t mean using big fancy words. In fact, you often need to be personal and conversational to express yourself in a way that engages the interest and emotions of your listeners.

Regardless of whether you’re writing or speaking, use words that are clear, easy-to-understand and relate well with your audience.

Bonus tip: Only use your workplace “jargon” if you are sure everyone in your audience knows the same lingo.

3. Excellent communicators engage in “speaking with” and not “talking to”

Being an effective communicator involves engaging with your audience and not talking at them. Rather, you engage through questions and openings, and draw them into the conversation. Keeping an open mind and again, (back to point one) listening actively to your team members will give you an extra edge instantly.

The next time someone disagrees with you, don’t blow off their opinion or shut  them down. Instead, try to explore what is the real reason they’re disagreeing.  They might be phrasing their objective in an imprecise, or even disagreeable way – but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a nugget of wisdom buried there.

Giving people the confidence that you respect their opinions too will make you a leader they can open to – which earns you admiration and trust.

4. Great communication involves (succinct) story-telling

Story can engage and make a deeper impact, especially when teams are used to dry communication. However, don’t mistake this for telling “yarns.” Instead, create background and interest in a way that draws listeners in.  Remember to keep you stories succinct and to-the-point.  Always.

5. Powerful communications come from the head and the heart

Finally, and most importantly, remember that the best communications make sense intellectually and resonate with people on an emotional level.  Paying attention to communicating with empathy can keep your message from being too intellectual and dry. Empathetic communication is clear, honest, straightforward and yet, filled with nuance and understanding.

Business communication skills can make or break the trust, respect and admiration your team has for you. Fine-tuning your skills constantly will help you create greater impact and build a stronger organization.



Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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