English is not only the most widely used language in everyday life around the globe, but also the primary language used in business. With the ongoing globalization, it has never been more important that you strengthen your communication skills and ensure you overcome any language barriers. Especially native speakers, who by definition have the best handle on the language, must be fully aware of how their words are understood by foreigners and how time consuming elaborations and misunderstandings in general can be avoided.
Technology is transforming our nine to five jobs into twenty-four seven working lifestyle that require full commitment and constant availability. More and more people are required to check their E-Mails in the evenings at home, participate in late night conference calls with people working in different time zones and bring their blackberry’s with them on holiday. Thus effective communication has developed not only into an integral component of business, but a necessity for you to be able to live a balanced life. Wether you’re communicating with your boss, colleagues, clients, suppliers or investors, the art of communication is of the utmost importance.
Keep it short
Business participants these days have no time to waste on long conversations heading to no result. Thus it’s important that they're is kept short, simple and to the point. Only mention what’s absolutely essential and avoid adding extra information such as needless justifications or unnecessary afterthoughts.
Precision and clarity
Make sure your instructions or questions are precise and unambiguous. Learn the skill of delivering difficult and complex information in a logical and easy-to-understand manner.
To ensure that no time is wasted for further instructions and discussions, it is essential that all necessary information is delivered the first time around. For example, if you are sending a project proposal to your clients, include time estimate, costs, benefits and limitations. In other words, don’t merely communicate the aim, but try and answer some of the most obvious questions that will arise. This way you may avoid lengthy Q&A sessions by E-Mail.
Correctness and accuracy
Especially when communicating in writing, grammatical and spelling mistakes will not be tolerated, as they indicate incompetency or indifference on your behalf. Repeating information will not only unnecessarily slow down the process, but might very well cause other parties to become frustrated with you.
Every instruction, idea, thought or questions must be premeditated and thus communicated systematically and in an easy-to-follow manner. It should be coherent and unambiguous from any view or perspective imaginable.
Understanding your target audience
Your message should be written in a way that is targeted towards and tailored for your audience. If you’re addressing a supplier, your message should be written differently than if you were corresponding with an employee. Thus it is important for you to know your target audience and also put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they will perceive and understand your letter. This process is inevitable for effective communication.
Have an exact aim
Figure out exactly what the purpose of your message is. Oftentimes we miss the point when communicating or do so unnecessarily and thus waste everyone’s time in the process. It might help to actually write down your aim or reason for sending that letter or making the call. Are you phoning about an upcoming and interesting business proposal? Are you writing to warn your suppliers to deliver good quality products? Are you printing those leaflet to educate your consumers on the benefits of purchasing your products? – Once you have an exact target, it will also become easier to communicate effectively and stick to the relevant information.
Avoid using jargons
Jargons can be considered highly inappropriate in business English. Also, there is no guarantee that the other party, whose mother tongue might not be English, understands your message or doesn't take you literally all the time. This can be very insulting or lead to huge misunderstandings. Thus it’s best to avoid jargons altogether.