Good communication skills make good business sense

Communicating effectively is no longer the sole responsibility of professional communicators. Organisations are rapidly learning that spending time building executives’ capability in communication pays big dividends.

That’s because communication is a part of everything we do and good communication makes business better.

Typically, it was those with customer facing roles who were trained in the art of ‘communication’, learning to be polite and friendly, and to diplomatically handle difficult situations. The rest of us were left to our own devices to figure it out.

But the fact is, very few people are naturally good communicators and it’s not a skill we are taught in school. In fact, if you carefully watch two people talk to each other in a business setting, you will be surprised by how little they listen to each other.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that almost 75% of the message gets lost in the noise. Think about a recent meeting you have been in: how often does the same thing get said more than once?

What’s even more interesting is how frequently people are talking at cross purposes; they often never realise it until after the meeting when there is disagreement around agreed action items.

Situations in which executives struggle most with their communication are generally those where the outcomes matter most. Running and facilitating a successful meeting is hard for many executives who do not have the skills to build rapport quickly and engage appropriately to drive clarity and accountability.

Even more threatening for many executives is writing a persuasive document, or even an email. Since a good document is 80% structure and 20% style and grammar, executives need the skills to decide whether the structure should be in a logic or narrative format; should it be problem-oriented logic or conclusion-oriented logic?

Every executive needs to be able to capture people’s interest, especially when their audience is disengaged. Knowing how to get people’s attention in writing or in person is critical to success.

And equally important is knowing how to have a difficult but clean conversation that ensures you can live to fight another day, with your working relationships not only intact but enhanced.

There are many benefits to having staff who are skilled communicators on board in your organisation. Good communication improves time efficiency because there is less conflict, and it makes people happier and more engaged. Organisations with good communication capability experience increased productivity and benefit from staff who are more aligned with the organisation’s goals.

SenateSHJ works with many executives on all aspects of their written and interpersonal communication. We help them to identify the key point in what they are writing and to use compelling stories to present their ideas. We also help them to learn and apply a disciplined process to identifying and choosing between options when faced with a problem.

We have training courses in all aspects of communications – from writing, to listening, and using communications to gain influence.

And at the end of the day, better communication capability in your organisation will mean better engagement with your customers – which is the bottom line.

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