If you’re here, then you are probably wondering what business communication skills you need to thrive in your career.
And you’re asking the right question.
Communication is indeed a vital aspect of a business, and communicating ideas to team members, prospects, or even investors is something that has to happen if you really want to stand out in your business or career.
But sadly, many times, people with great ideas bottle them up due to poor communication skills.
If this sounds like you, then keep reading on because, in this post, I will cover the basic business communication skills that you need and show you how you can improve on your communication skills.
The first step to improving your business skills is knowing what those skills are.
You see, how can you improve on something if you don’t know about it?
Many people don’t have the vital business communication skills they need because they don’t know what those skills are in the first place.
But by the end of this post, you will know exactly what communication skills that you need, how to learn them efficiently, and the steps you need to take to improve on those that need improvement.
Before we dive right in, knowing exactly why you are learning these skills would be a great motivation in learning and will help you keep a positive mindset throughout the learning process.
But first, what are business communication skills?
Business Communication Skills
You’ve probably guessed what they are already.
Skills that help you communicate better in business settings.
Basically, they are those skills that help you pass on ideas or interact with people better, especially when it comes to the workplace or business in general.
Now that we are clear on what they are let’s look a bit into why these communication skills are so important.
Why Business Communication Skills are Super Important.
Sure, developing your business communication skills sounds like a great idea.
But why is it more than a great idea? Why is it crucial?
Let’s dive in.
1. To get the right team members
Communication is massively essential when choosing your team members.
You’d probably have to stick with the people you choose for a long time. And when you choose the wrong team members, it only makes the time seem much longer.
Just like you need to talk to people, if you really want to get to know them and build meaningful relationships, it’s the same for the recruitment of team members.
To know which people fit with your mission and have the same or a similar mindset as you, you have to communicate with them first.
So, you see why communication skills are essential in getting the right team members? Just to make it clearer, here’s why:
When you have excellent communication skills, you’re able to recruit the right people because you can clearly communicate what you expect of them and what your mission is…
And also figure out if they are in line with your vision.
People can understand what you expect and decide if it matches their working expectations only when you communicate clearly to them.
Several people get employed only to discover that what they thought the job was about isn’t really what they wanted.
This could be a huge demotivator and a sure source of turnover in employees.
2. To get your ideas across to team members
Yes, communication skills help you get the right team members, but it doesn’t stop there.
With the right communication skills, you can continually share innovative ideas with team members even after you have them on board with you.
Also, by building the right communication skills, you can get ideas and contributions from team members as well.
Communication is a two-way process.
Passing information and receiving information.
When you build the right communication skills, you’re not only able to share ideas efficiently, but you’re also able to create an environment where people are willing and delighted to share their unique ideas.
3. To get loyal clients
Now, we’ve talked about communication with team members for a bit, but communication skills don’t apply to your internal team only.
When you have the right communication skills, you can interact better with your customers.
Guess what the result of better customer interaction is.
You probably guessed it right. Loyal customers.
With well-polished business communication skills, you are well equipped to share your mission with your customers, just like your team members, and build rapport with them.
When businesses share their mission and unique story with their customers effectively, the customers are more likely to resonate and be loyal to the company.
So the bottom line of this point is this.
Building communication skills helps you resonate with customers and to develop better connections with them.
Remember that communication is a two-way process.
So, not only are you able to communicate with customers, but you can get valuable feedback from them, which could potentially improve your business.
A win-win situation.
4. To get good investors
Just like you need to communicate to get your team members on board, you also need to talk to get your investors on board.
Think of an elevator pitch…
Just like in an elevator pitch, if your communication skills are not up to par, then you’ll not be able to get the right investors to your business.
Look at it this way; when you can share ideas clearly, and people understand and see the benefits from your idea, then you stand a better chance at getting them to take the desired action.
Effective communication potentially leads to action-taking. Awesome right?
Another bonus of good communication skills is that they make you more persuasive, which translates to you being more believable.
Having good, strong communication skills helps you get your ideas across to investors and helps them see the benefits and mission of your business and then they can decide if that’s what they want to go into.
Not only will good communication skills help you weed out the wrong investors, but they will help you get investors that share the same vision and mindset as you.
5. To solve problems and generate ideas
Problem-solving is an essential skill that you need as an entrepreneur. The good news is that you can solve problems better with good communication skills.
Now, the main question is, “How?”
We’ll look at it from two perspectives. Starting with the first.
As you’ll discover, when you keep reading, business communication skills also include research and analysis.
This analytical ability that you will develop along with other business communication skills will help you solve problems better.
We can look at it from another dimension – solving problems by working with people.
When you have good communication skills, you facilitate an environment where people feel comfortable to share ideas and come up with solutions.
You’ll find that with good communication skills, you can get information from different types of people, even those who aren’t willing to talk or share ideas.
It helps you get to know different people and solve problems effectively as a team, leading to the next point.
6. To manage a positive team working environment
Another great thing about communication skills is that it helps you relate better with different types of people.
And the truth is, the more comfortable people feel around you, and the easier they understand you, the better they interact with you.
With good business communication skills, you can achieve all of this, and it translates to better team building and coordination skills.
Those are extremely valuable skills, by the way.
7. To express ideas and creativity
No doubt, good communication skills help you get your ideas across to people.
Miscommunication happens when information isn’t passed clearly or correctly, and this is exactly what communication skills will help you avoid.
Good communication skills enhance your clarity and open the floor up for contributions from others.
8. Improves credibility and trustworthiness
When you express your ideas clearly and confidently, you appear more credible and trustworthy, because it shows that you know what you’re talking about.
And everyone likes people that know their stuff.
Good communication skills are so important because, when you’re confident, you can initiate and engage in conversations and be more convincing at the same time.
9. Build valuable connections
From loyal customers to supportive team members and investors, the value of good communication skills is pretty apparent.
With great communication skills, you have a better chance of building strong and valuable connections.
By initiating and engaging interesting conversations, sharing ideas expressly, listening to various views and nurturing a comfortable discussion, you are very likely to meet awesome people, build good work relationships and have loyal long term supporters.
10. Career advancement
Although the benefits of sound business communication skills are many, the last point that we will focus on is career advancement.
If you plan to advance in your career, then your communication skills will be a bonus to you.
Some things simply cannot be avoided or overlooked in the workplace. You need to solve problems, engage in conversations, work in teams.
If not every time, at least sometimes.
Both as an entrepreneur or as a working professional, having top-notch communication skills will put you ahead in many ways.
Most employers lookout for people with good communication skills when recruiting.
Think about it; nobody wants to work with someone who can’t express ideas clearly in the least or someone who can’t give or handle feedback properly.
Generally, communication skills are a must for everyone who plans to play an important role in business.
What are the basic business communication skills that you need to succeed
Now we know why business communication skills are essential. Next, we will figure out what exactly those skills are that we need to succeed.
Remember, the first step to improving your business skills is knowing what those skills are.
There are several skills, and this list is by no means all-inclusive, but here are some of the communication skills that you need to thrive in a business environment.
1. Listening Skills
One of the core communication skills for business is listening.
How well can you listen to people and get the main details?
Listening skills are very important, especially when it comes to jobs like customer representative jobs, but it is a vital skill even in your own business.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll probably start as a sole proprietorship. In that case, you’ll have to deal with customers as well as suppliers by yourself and to build good relationships with these people; you need good communication skills.
Still, no business remains a sole proprietorship forever, at least no growing business. At some point, entrepreneurs would need to communicate with the people they work with and again, communication skills will be necessary.
Because, really, who wants to talk to someone who isn’t willing to hear them out?
Communication is a two-way process, and as much as it involves sharing ideas, it also consists of listening to ideas that people share, which is why listening skills are fundamental.
2. Speaking Skills
The next skill that you need to improve is your speaking skills.
Can you express your ideas clearly in spoken words?
Speaking skills include elements like fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation
It’s all about how you vocalize words, pass on ideas, your pronunciation, how you speak and the clarity of your spoken message.
It’s not only about speech but also presentation. It’s about how you’re able to express ideas using spoken words.
Speaking skills are a very important communication skill. According to Cambridge, speaking skills are the most important skill in comparison to listening, writing and reading.
Several educators around the world took part in a survey, and while listening, writing and reading skills were ranked as 10%, 8% and 7% important, speaking skills were rated 70% important! (source)
You can see why speaking skills are crucial.
3. Probing/interviewing Skills
Interviewing skills are specifically crucial for getting the right team members.
However, even though you may not need to get team members, your interviewing skills can be extremely beneficial to you.
With good interviewing skills, you can effectively get useful positive feedback and ideas by probing people and engaging in highly valuable conversations with them.
Interviewing skills are also highly important in researching, especially in taking surveys. It is a great way to get valuable information.
4. Presentation Skills
Presenting is another vital skill that you need in the business.
Your presentation skills are one of the main communication elements that make you persuasive and trustworthy.
Good presentation skills are, in fact, a necessity in business. Being an excellent presenter includes several factors, such as the appropriate use of gestures and good speaking skills.
Do you see how most communication skills are interconnected?
At some point in business you will be expected to present something, maybe a report on a study you did, a business idea pitch to investors, a workshop for team members and employees, or even a seminar for prospective clients
Presentation skills simply cannot be overlooked.
5. Writing Skills
Another great business communication skill is writing.
In businesses, you’ll also need to pass on information and communicate through writing.
Writing skills are very important. Writing also involves passing on ideas but in written words.
In a business setting, you should be able to write several documents such as memos, reports, job descriptions, emails, proposals and several other documents depending on what kind of work you are doing.
Through these official documents, you are passing information, you are communicating.
Writing skills are not only a great addition to your communication toolkit, but a necessity more often than not.
6. Public speaking skills
Very closely related to presentation skills, public speaking skills also involve presenting ideas to an audience.
However, public speaking skills focus more on your speech than on visuals such as slides. Presentation skills, however, are a part of public speaking and will improve the quality of any speech.
Generally, speeches could be informative, persuasive or narrative, and some certain techniques and rules are essential when it comes to each type of public speaking.
Developing your public speaking skills will be massively helpful to you as public speaking doesn’t only happen in conferences or with huge audiences but also in smaller conversations such as team discussions and work meetings.
7. Researching Skills
You may be asking, “Are researching skills an important part of business communication?”
The answer is, “Yes.”
Everyone likes verifiable, reliable information. That’s exactly what research entails.
Research involves getting information and presenting the information that you have found persuasively.
Fact-backed information potentially boosts communication.
Think about it.
Testimonials improve sales.
Marketing is more effective when exact figures are used.
People are wired to trust information that is properly researched.
So you see why researching skills are a valuable addition to your business communication skills? It boosts your credibility and makes you more trustable.
Most of the communication skills are linked together, and so they all work together as a whole. Researching is another business skill that you should not miss out on.
8. Team Management Skills
When you don’t have the right skills, managing a team is outright difficult and sometimes simply unthinkable.
Personality and interest conflicts, lack of cooperation and complete chaos.
There are certain techniques that you need to manage a team effectively.
Think of questions like: How do you handle different personalities, objections and ideas? How can you motivate team members and encourage participation?
These are things that you need to consider when managing a team. To do this effectively, you need good team management skills.
9. Organizing business meetings
Being able to plan business meetings, send out memos and ensure that the meeting runs smoothly is another priceless communication skill.
In every business meeting, there has to be an initiator, the ice breaker, and with the good business meeting skills, you can be that person.
A comfortable, fun and friendly environment are generally more creative and engaging. But someone has to make it that way or at least set the pace.
Good business meeting organization skills don’t stop at making sure that everyone is present or that the meeting is well planned but that the conversations are engaging and interactive, and that people feel comfortable to share ideas.
10. Assessment, Analysis, Documentation and Feedback Skills
Closely related to researching, these skills help you communicate well thought out and analyzed ideas.
Just like researching, these skills increase your credibility and trustworthiness, and they could be components of researching.
These skills are also highly useful in communicating effective feedback to people. Inaccurate feedback is demotivating to subordinates and can severely hurt your credibility as well. So, especially as a supervisor, these skills are extremely important.
However, these skills are not only important to supervisors but everyone in an organization, especially in organizations where 360 feedback is used to give constructive criticism.
Oral and Written Business Communication Skills
Now you know some of the primary communication skills that you need to stand out in your business or career.
Before moving on to the steps you need to take to develop those skills, it might be helpful to know that these skills can be divided into several categories.
Let’s talk a bit about the distinction between oral and written business communication skills.
What exactly are oral communication skills?
They are skills that involve speaking and expressing ideas vocally.
Some examples of oral business communication skills include:
- Presentation Skills
- Public Speaking Skills
- Team Management Skills
Written business skills are pretty different.
They also involve sharing ideas, but in this case, the ideas are expressed in written words.
Some written business communication skills include:
- Report Writing
- Letter Writing
- Feedback and Research Writing
How to Develop Your Business Communication Skills.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for.
How can you improve your business communication skills?
Here are some useful steps that you can take to improve your business communication skills.
1. Find out which of your skills need the most improvement
Begin by listing out all the skills you have. Then, list out all the skills you don’t have, but you want to develop.
Doing this makes it clear to you what skills you should be aiming towards improving.
After outlining all the necessary skills, indicate which of those skills you are good at and which ones you are not.
You can rank your skill level based on these measurements:
- Very Poor
The next step after indicating your current level with the different skills is to rank them from top to bottom, starting from the least up to the highest level.
The skills that you have the least performance in are the ones that you should focus on improving. Start with the first one on the list.
2. Set clear goals to improve your low-performance skills.
Now that you know what skills you need to improve, the next step is making solid plans to develop those skills.
Before setting any goal, you need to have the right mindset.
The best way to motivate yourself is by asking yourself, “why”?
Why are you setting your goals?
When you decide on an answer to that, question yourself further.
For example, if your answer was “to get a raise,” ask yourself why you want to get a raise.
It’s almost like interrogating yourself, but doing this puts you in the right mindset before setting your goals and getting in this mindset is just as important as setting your goals.
It helps you remember why you are working on yourself so that when you begin to lose interest, you can remember why you are doing it in the first place.
This strategy is more effective than any motivational quote you will ever read.
Okay. Enough about getting in the right mindset. How do you set these solid goals?
Use these simple but useful tips:
1. Write out your reason, the big why (you’ve done that already if you’ve been following so far)
2. Write out at least five general skill improvement goals that you want to achieve. For example, if you aim to improve your speaking skills, your goal could be” engage in more conversations.” Don’t bother too much about being specific yet; at this point, you are just aiming to get your general goals down.
3. Now that you have some goals written down, you can try to be more specific. Add some specific values and targets. For example, with the previous example we used, “engage in more conversations,” to make it more precise, the new goal could be, “take part in 5 new conversations.
Of course, you can change your goals based on what your target is.
The next step is important to keep you dedicated and accountable for achieving your goals…
4. Setting time frames. Now, you need to take your specific goals and give them a time frame. Using the previous example, our time-framed goal could be “take part in 5 new conversations by the end of June” or “take part in 5 new conversations in two months.”
5. Now that you have set more specific goals, the last thing you need to do is review your goals to make sure that you can achieve them comfortably within the time frame you have set.
Tough goals are such terrible demotivators.
So instead of setting impossible goals and giving up completely midway, set achievable goals that you can see through till the end even though they may not cover as much as you may want.
3. Take clear actions
Now you are done with the goal-setting stage; it’s time to take action.
Taking action happens to be the most challenging part, sometimes. But setting goals without taking action makes your goals irrelevant.
If you’re wondering where to start when taking action on your goals, keep reading.
These are some tips that could help you get started.
And don’t worry, I guarantee that as you get started, you’ll find more ideas coming up, you’ll spot things that you need to improve on and opportunities that you can take.
Let’s dive in.
4. Participate in activities:
As much as you can, try to participate in activities at work, school, or anywhere you find yourself.
The best way to learn any skill is by practicing.
Really, no matter how much you read about a subject, hands-on experience is the only way to verify that you have mastered or that you are mastering that skill.
5. Ask for feedback:
One of the best ways to improve yourself is to get feedback from people around you.
Preferably people that would give you honest feedback.
If you’re unable to get feedback from people, then make sure to document your progress right from day one. The best type of feedback is one that you can see for yourself.
You can record a video or audio of yourself at every stage and go back later to your recordings to see for yourself where you need to make improvements.
6. Utilize useful communication resources:
There are lots of helpful resources on the internet that can help you improve your business communication skills.
Make sure to utilize the free resources and even the paid ones if you see fit.
Here are some resources that could help you get started in improving your business communication skills.
- Communication ebooks
- Communication Courses
- Youtube Videos
7. Do a periodic self-evaluation:
Doing a self-evaluation from time to time is essential.
Seeing the improvements that are happening is very encouraging.
By doing a self-evaluation, you can see more clearly where you need to improve and where more work is required. But also where you have developed.
General tips to improve your business communication skills
1. Go for workshops or events:
If there are workshops or events close to your location, you could try going for some of them.
This is a great way to connect with like-minded people, especially if you find some communication workshops.
However, even if you don’t find communication workshops around you, it’s okay to go for other workshops (as far as you are interested in the topic, of course).
Generally, going for workshops gives you opportunities to improve your communication skills by meeting new people.
2. Volunteer to take the lead:
I know, I know, it sounds extremely scary.
But the more you try participating, the more you’ll become used to it.
When you go to these workshops, make an attempt to take part in activities, and if there are opportunities, go for the leadership opportunities.
This isn’t only a great way to gain new connections but to exercise some of your communication skills.
3. Enrol in communication courses:
Following a structured course that takes you step-by-step through developing communication skills, is highly effective.
More effective than trying to do it yourself. A course has all the steps throughout already, so instead of trying to figure out what the missing pieces are, you can focus on getting things right.
Also, some courses come with certifications, which is fantastic. Not only can you express those skills, but you also have proof that you have gone through training.
Yes, even an online course completion certificate from a reliable source is good enough proof.
4. Accept feedback:
How you handle feedback is important.
When you are given feedback, it’s important to try and work on it and to improve based on the suggestions that have been given.
This is especially necessary if more than one person made the same suggestion.
5. Join helpful communities:
With social media, there’s no limit to the level of support you can get. There are several online communities of people with similar skills and passions.
A great idea to improve your communication skills is to join communities of people with a similar interest in improving their communication skills.
You can find great communities on platforms like Facebook, Quora, or communication blogs.
You’ve made a great decision to improve your business communication skills.
Hopefully, this article has helped give you a clearer insight into developing the basic business communication skills that you need to be outstanding in your business or career.
Now you know what skills you need and some steps that you could take to develop them. Go out there and set those goals!
You can also get our free goal setting template below by signing up.
See you next time we post, till then, take care.
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Esther Alu, the Founder of TheAceBusiness.com is an entrepreneur who writes step-by-step guides for starting several business ideas. She is constantly learning and discovering effective ways to help her readers launch and grow successful businesses.