Business Communication Skills From the Ground Up

How does one build their planetbesttech communication skills from the ground up? In fact, I bet you are wondering what I even mean by ‘from the ground up,’ so let me start with an explanation based on an example.

First, consider this. A business is usually established and carried on by adults with considerable verbal skills; having them all in the same room, muchless the same company, only insures loud voices, not mature business communications. What the movie character, Cool Hand Luke, said a few decades back applies in many businesses: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

I recently conducted a workshop on sales training, and we began by discussing communication skills, because I believe communication is at the core of everything that works and everything that doesn’t in our lives, both personally and professionally. As we moved into basic sales training, it was readily apparent that the challenge this group had was related to their communication skills. When we role-played, it was easy to see what they weren’t doing, and that was listening.

Listening is the first business communication skill we must master. If we don’t, everything that occurs in the interaction has the chance to go awry. That is what I mean by building from the ground up. The ground-level skill is listening.

We think we are listening, but we often aren’t. Here’s what I noticed in the workshop. Instead of listening, they were already thinking of the next question they wanted to ask, or their response. Perhaps they heard the words, but they missed the essence of what was being said. And because of this, the conversation was at a superficial level. They missed the opportunity to bond with the person they were speaking with so that person felt heard and understood.

When no one is reasonably listening, instructions fall on deaf ears or are subject to misinterpretation. The basics, muchless the nuances, of client requests are often lost. Failure to listen, at any level of an organization, leads to errors, costly re-dos, and unneeded calls backs and emails.

In the business world today, we value multitasking. With limited resources, people try to do more with their time. Ironically, in an era of texting, smart phones, instant messaging, communication can suffer. With multiple input challenges, we often set the stage to not hear anything clearly. Needless to say, the responses show the lack of true understanding. That lack of understanding screams out “you do not value me enough as client, co-worker, employee, friend, etc. to give me your attention.”

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