Interpersonal communication is the key to building strong business relationships. Outside of an organization, verbal communication may take the form of phone calls, face-to-face meetings, speeches, teleconferences, or video conferences. Business professionals who have effective verbal communication skills can communicate more accurately with their colleagues. Employees who have excellent communication skills are highly valued in any organization and find themselves more in demand. And in these times of far fewer face to face meetings, effective communication skills are more important than ever.
Effective communication results in an increase in productivity, decrease in errors, and smoother running operations. Strong communication skills help you bond and collaborate with coworkers, inspire trust and loyalty in all with whom you come in contact, and can help elicit clear expectations from your manager so you can deliver high-quality work. Here is a list of verbal communication skills:
Be clear and concise – Plan ahead to effectively deliver your message and be prepared to share your thoughts in an uncomplicated and organized manner. Don’t rush and avoid repeating yourself. The goal is to be clear and concise.
Manage your tone – A friendly tone will encourage others to communicate with you. Pay attention to the control and volume of your voice. Sometimes you will want to have a firm tone in your voice. Stay focused on the tone you want to convey to avoid drifting into a tone that may be counterproductive to your communication goals. I have to specifically focus on not sounding irritated when a conversation is not going in the desired direction. I find that I am more effective when I can keep the tone of irritation out of my voice.
Show empathy – The goal here is to understand where the other person is coming from and show respect their views even if they are very different from your own. When you show respect for the ideas and opinions of others, they will be more likely to communicate with you. Strong communications require an open mind and a commitment to understanding other people’s points of view. If you disagree with the people you are speaking to, make an effort to reach a middle ground that benefits all involved.
Ask questions – During a conversation, make an effort to ask open-ended questions. These are questions with prompts which encourage the recipient to speak more in depth about certain points and questions require a more detailed response.
Listen actively – There’s a big difference between hearing someone talking and listening to what they are saying. Genuine and active listening improves relationships, helps to solve problems, and results in teams being more productive. We all have had the experience of mistakes being made and misunderstandings occurring because people didn’t take the time to fully comprehend the entire message or instructions they were given.
Be patient and allow the speaker to finish before responding or judging what they’ve said. Make consistent eye contact, use the name of the person, and be aware of your body language and theirs. Make an effort to keep your body language open and relaxed even when on a Zoom call. It is helpful to repeat back what they’ve shared with you in your own words to confirm understanding and clarify any confusion.
Show courtesy – It’s important to always be respectful to everyone in your work environment, show good manners, and behave courteously and graciously. When you remember to say “please,” “thank you,” and “my apologies” often, people notice this and it makes you far more approachable, trustable, and likable. When you thank a person, try to be specific about what you are thanking them for. That little extra effort can leave a big impression.
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