You notice a long pause…, or someone doesn’t respond to an email you have sent out. Perhaps you get a strange look from the person you are speaking to. Most people have come across this at some point in a business meeting, interview, or email.
While you can’t always control the response you get when doing business with others, there are some ways you can minimize those awkward moments.
Communication seems like a simple idea, in fact, we do it daily. The problem is, that we can easily fall into traps when dealing with people outside of our own circles. I want to share 4 tips to help you avoid those traps as much as possible.
Be careful of using slang and/or text speech when communicating in a business setting.
I know, I know, the world is run by Millennials now, and that is how we communicate. The problem is, that there are still many people out there who don’t take to the new speech trends.
When speaking to a client, possible employer, or any other person you plan to work with, it is important to remember the etiquette of business speech. Whether you are writing an email, talking on the phone, or meeting with someone one-on-one, being careful of your words is important.
For example, which of these two options do you think will get a better response?
– Hey man, we are crushing these #s. BTW, I think we are awesome enough to double next month!
– Our sales numbers have steadily increased this month. In fact, if we keep this momentum up, we may be able to double the profits next month.
( I realize this may be somewhat of a bad example, but it gives you the idea.)
Just keep in mind that throwing around too many slang terms or using text speech in a business setting can turn some people off from you.
On the other side of the spectrum, being overly pretentious will do you no favors.
Some people, trying to sound more professional, will seek the depths to find largely antiquated words. While this is a great way to increase vocabulary, it is usually unnecessary in business settings. Common words work just as well, if not better when trying to get your point across.
With both these tips, the point is simple. If you want someone to take you seriously, be precise and authoritative as possible. Write or speak clearly to ensure your audience understands your meaning.
Listen! Make sure you hear what the other person is saying to you. This sounds obvious, but too often we are thinking about what we want to say next. This can keep us from communicating effectively.
Let’s say you have a product you want to sell. You have all these great ideas of how they can be useful to the person in front of you. You have talking points in your head, ready to spout off the need for this product.
But let’s say this person doesn’t see those same things as important. They want to address a different problem, or they see another possible benefit of your product.
If you don’t stop to hear these ideas from the other person, they will not care what you have to say. Listen to what is important to them. If you give them that courtesy and address their expressed needs, they will be more willing to hear the other great benefits later. Make sure you hear what they are telling you is most important to them!
Be willing to learn from others.
This is very similar to the previous tip. You may be an expert on your chosen field, but spending your time trying to convince others of this fact, without being willing to take in feedback, is detrimental to your ability to convince them of anything.
Do they want someone who knows what they are talking about?
Most likely, yes.
They also want someone who realizes they don’t know everything.
Be willing to take advice, and remember we always have room to learn something new.
If you want further or more in-depth tips on communication, I highly recommend reading (or listening to) “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
Read next: Five Steps to Managing & Resolving Conflict at Work