The Business Leader’s Guide to Successful Communication

How many of you consider yourself to be a business person? How many of you consider yourself to be a business leader? Just about anyone can go into business or even call themself a business person. So then, what creates a “business leader”?

This is an important distinction. The secret to the difference between a business person and a business leader is how one communicates. Sounds like common sense to some…but please read on to learn 10 invaluable pointers to ensure your success in business communication.

1. Always ensure you have a specific objective when interacting with someone.

Ask yourself: “What do I want to accomplish?”

Don’t try to fly by the seat of your pants or be impromptu.

2. Know as much as you can about the listener(s).

Ask yourself: “What does(s)he expect, think, or know about this subject?”

Don’t assume that your needs, perspectives, and understanding of a topic are the same as your listener.

3. Make sure you can be easily heard by your listener(s).

Ask yourself: “Have I adjusted my voice for the circumstances, such as room size/setup, number of people, environmental noise?”

Don’t speak so softly that people must work hard to hear you as this wastes time and is unproductive.

4. Pay attention to the speed of your message.

Ask yourself: “Am I speaking with a satisfactory rate for the needs of the listener and the content of what I’m saying?”

Don’t speak too rapidly and run the risk of confusing your listener or having your message misunderstood.

5. Focus on your pronunciation and strive to be as clear as possible.

Ask yourself: “Do I tend to use a casual style of speaking as exhibited by dropping off word endings or final sounds, or mispronouncing words?”

Don’t use a sloppy or imprecise way of speaking and convey an unprofessional image.

6. Concentrate on what’s most important in your message and use emphasis accordingly.

Ask yourself: “How can I deliver what I need to say and hold my listener’s attention?”

Don’t use the same pitch or inflection pattern and become monotonous.

7. Become aware of your nonverbal communication when interacting with others.

Ask yourself: “What distracting habits do I have that may be detracting from what I’m saying?”

Don’t use gestures that are fidgety/call attention to you in a negative way, and are not enhancing your message. 

8. Sharpen your basic grammar skills.

Ask yourself: “Would I make the common mistake of confusing correct pronoun usage (e.g. ‘Contact either Bob or myself.’ rather than saying ‘Contact either Bob or me.’)?”

Don’t fall into the habit of being agrammatical whether you are speaking or writing, and portraying yourself in a negative light.

9. Work on enriching your vocabulary.

Ask yourself: “Is my speech characterized by using the same words repeatedly and do I have a habit of speaking in jargon?”

Don’t become complacent with your word choice and avoid using technical terminology if it is not known to the listener.

10.Teach yourself to develop the art of listening.

Ask yourself: “Do I tend to do most of the talking and dominate the conversation?”

Don’t fall into the pattern of being long-winded and forgetting to ask open-ended questions to learn more about your listener.

Implementing these 10 tips will position you to become a successful business communicator.

By: Dale G. Klein, M.A., Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist, © 2008, Profitable Speech, LLC A Sound Investment®. All rights reserved.