As a business professional, it is safe to assume you have probably been given the advice “communication is key” when it comes to being successful in your career. I am here to tell you that this is not entirely true.
Am I suggesting that communication is unimportant? Of course not. However, I am suggesting that the only thing worse than no communication, is miscommunication. With that said, I would like to revise this ancient piece of professional wisdom to stress that simply communicating is not what will lead you down the road to success, but understanding the concept of effective communication will determine how well you can drive yourself to the top.
Why is effective communication so important?
The difference between simply communicating and communicating effectively has an enormous impact on how successful your current and future relationships are. Before I was the COO of a Communications Consulting firm, I had many different jobs and roles as a professional: Teacher, High School and Family Counselor, Crisis Management Consultant, and a husband and father. In all of those roles, the common thread of success was effective communication. This is why it appears as a core requirement on almost every job description—across industries, levels, and sectors. Possessing the ability to adapt how I communicated and listened in different types of situations allowed me to find the solutions that best fit whoever I found myself working with.
In many instances, the reason teams, groups, companies, and even governments fall apart, is the lack of effective communication. Effective communication saves campaigns, businesses, and relationships. Understood and applied effectively, we would see a sharp decrease in wars, divorce, and business failures. Did you know that 80% of small business ventures fail to effectively start up every year? In most cases, the failure isn’t due to the lack of a great idea or even the lack of substantial funding. In many cases, it is due to the lack of a well-articulated business plan or poor communication between stakeholders or to partners and customers. This demonstrates why effective communication is vital for project managers to ensure that stakeholders are always driving toward the same overall goal.
So what makes someone an effective communicator? Here are a few tips to get you started…
Master basic forms of communication
An effective communicator must understand how to clearly portray their thoughts and ideas through all basic forms of communication. An effective communicator is not only equipped to communicate verbally, but through writing and expression (body language) as well. While many people find they are better at communicating one way over another, it is important to learn how to accurately express what you want to communicate regardless of the platform.
Good listening leads to good communication
The most important aspect of an effective communicator almost always stems from being an active listener. Being an active listener means that you are engaged and able to retain the information being passed on to you. The better you understand the client or stakeholder you are communicating with, the more likely you are to construct a meaningful and effective relationship with them. Possessing the ability to listen and understand both what they are saying and how they feel about something, will give you the upper hand when coming up with a proper response or solution.
Actions speak louder than words
Your actions and behavior will always communicate louder than what you say or write, which is important to understand when building strong and trustworthy relationships. Every time you follow through on your actions, you make other methods of communication that much stronger. This is a great way to generate trust within relationships, as well as build up confidence that communicating with you is an efficient and worthy use of others’ time.
Finally, not only can effective communication help to avoid situations of misunderstanding, but it’s also a vital building block in creating a team that is working toward the same goal. When it comes to business, being able to clearly portray your ideas through all forms of communication can give you a competitive edge. The speed and accuracy of one’s communication skills can make a huge difference to clients, especially in today’s fast-paced world. By using these tips to become an effective communicator, you can highlight your other skills in a way that will make you stand out to those you are seeking to build relationships with.