How do I Improve my Communication Skills?

A common issue, my client’s face is getting their message across to the right audience. Communication skills are an essential business tool.  Regardless of the industry, you’re in, the ability to effectively and professionally share, seek and exchange information, news and ideas will impact every form of contact you make.  It especially strengthens your ability to manage and grow your business, engage clients and oversee team members.

We can all work on improving our communication skills. Here are some steps to help you refine your approach and message:

WHO … are you actually communicating to?  Clients, customers, colleagues, employees and service providers encompass different demographics, geographics, knowledge, skill sets and motivations.  Knowing your target market will determine the content and style of your communication. If possible try and understand how they absorb information and use a mixture of visual, facts, figures and copy.

WHAT…are you communicating? You need to clearly establish the content of your message and desired outcomes.  Your communication should always be simple, honest and informative.  Communication that is convoluted, outdated and incorrect won’t get you far.

HOW….will you be communicating? The communication method you use should be compatible with your WHO and WHAT. For example, a short, fun video on social media is a great way to target Gen Y customers about your latest product.  Email is great for a more personalised approach to offer detailed information about your service to sales leads. 1:1 meeting are ideal for confidential and “getting to know you” discussions.

Other key points to remember are:

2-WAY STREET: Communication should always be reciprocal. You need to offer avenues for people to respond to you, or even initiate contact. If you are delivering your message in person then regularly check in to give people a chance to ask questions or counter your points.

GO WITH THE FLOW: Your communication should always be fluid and adaptable to changing situations and target markets.

YOU DO YOU: We all have our own natural style which develops over time, especially as you manage and grow your business.  Often your business will be a direct reflection of your style and “personal brand”.  So it’s important to bring this branding to your business communication.  This is what makes it unique, authentic and natural.  If you’re better in person than over the phone, then great! Go and have that coffee with a prospective client.  If you’re better at the written word, then write your emails and blogs and articles and put them on your website.   If you prefer team meetings with your staff rather than 1:1’s. then get them all together for a Friday afternoon debrief. As long as it works then it won’t be wrong!

Another great option for really understanding your communication style and that of others is a tailored assessment such as a DISC report. These can be a great way to take the guesswork out and improve your communication style immediately.

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME:  If you’re finding that you struggle with any of the above activities, you may want to ask for feedback about your communication skills. Don’t see it is an attack on your personality. See it as an opportunity to improve your communication skills so you can get better results.

Alternatively, talk to a Business Coach about how your communications skills can be improved or if they can conduct a tailored assessment like a DISC Report. If you want to find out more about how I help my clients improve their communication style using DISC and other methods, please contact me.

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