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Improving Your Business Communication Skills

Business communication skills are keys to success and are an important area that must be developed. From public speaking and body language to active listening and negotiating, there are many aspects to communicating effectively in the business realm. The way a person communicates in business can lose or seal a deal, influence others to increase their work performance, and ensure that your message is delivered effectively and that your intended audience comprehends your intent. Mistakes in body language, tone, or failing to show that you are open to negotiation or compromise can shut down your recipient's willingness to hear your message. By improving your business communication skills, you can ensure that you are effective at your job, presentation, or position.

Eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of communication available in the business world. Making eye contact shows that someone is in a position of authority, has integrity, and is not hiding anything. Eye contact can be used to intimidate as well as make connections. People in positions of authority can demonstrate their power simply by making eye contact with someone for at least three seconds. If you need to get the truth from someone, such as in an employer/employee relationship, don't respond to answers too quickly. Don't underestimate the importance of silence and making eye contact for at least three seconds. When public speaking or questioning someone one-on-one, the importance of eye contact cannot be overlooked. Speak directly and confidently and make appropriate eye contact, as this confirms your position of authority.

Many people working in the business world want to be viewed as powerful, confident, and professional. Those who struggle in this area might be surprised to learn that their body language detracts from what they are saying. They may have a commanding message, sales presentation, or pitch but lose their audience due to body language mistakes. One area that quickly makes a person look weak is tilted head movements. Body language may be defined as passive, assertive, or aggressive. For example, when a woman is feeling casual or even flirtatious, she may toss her hair over her shoulder or throw her head back in a playful manner. While this behavior may be appropriate in a casual setting, it is quickly detrimental in the business arena. Many people may tilt their head to one side when listening, as this is a passive move that shows that someone is paying attention to the other person. A head that tilts forward during speech, such as nodding while speaking, may be viewed as a sign of aggression. When giving presentations or public speaking, be conscious of head movements. Eliminate head tilts when negotiating with people or trying to establish your assertiveness. Keep the head steady and upright, and turn your head with your body to ensure that you present yourself as confident and strong, not passive or aggressive.

Another important and effective strategy that can help communication is to anticipate recipients' responses. Using a lead-in line or phrase can put recipients at ease and avoid a defensive reaction. When addressing difficult issues with people, you want to ensure that they are calm and keep them relaxed. By taking a negative phrase and turning it into a positive, you can stave off any negative reactions that might arise. Adding a side head tilt when speaking helps ensure that you present yourself passively and without aggression. Look for power phrases that have been shown to be effective in creating a neutral and open environment and use them during appropriate times. While tone, inflection, and eye contact play an important role in communication, choosing the wrong words can be detrimental to conveying your message effectively. Choose words that empower others and they will respond positively. Use words that rob people of the feeling of power and they will become defensive. Being assertive does not mean threatening or intimidating others into being cowering victims. True leaders use their assertiveness to show others that the relationship is beneficial to both parties and create an environment where everyone, regardless of their position, feels safe, secure, and empowered.

Learn more about improving your business communication skills on the following pages:

Communication Skills for the Business Worker
Improving Business Communication Skills
The Importance of Strong Business Communication Skills
Tips and Tricks for Public Speaking: Business Communications
Preparing Your Elevator Speech
The Importance of Communicating Effectively
Effective Oral Communications for Sales Presentations
10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders
Writing Guides: Making Speeches and Presentations
Effective Communication Skills
Listening Effectively
Effective Communication Skills Used in Public Relations and Marketing
Non-Verbal Communication Skills