Communicating Effectively

Ideas in business are crucial for success. But if you cannot fully express and communicate your ideas, you might as well quit thinking!

Effective communication is crucial for success in business — that is, attaining results by meeting objectives with and through other people.

Communication is vital to any human encounter.

painted-vasesWhen you communicate well, you clarify concepts and ideas. You are able to understand and work with the recipients of your message. You will also be able to inform, instruct, and persuade them to do what you want them to do, to achieve your desired results. In fact, the most effective communicators not only influence and persuade their audience to act in a specific way, but also these communicators convince their audience to do so.

Business communication can be full of specialized language, or jargon, that generally can only be understood by experts. Others inside a company and outside of a company do not inherently understand this jargon, even when they hear it all the time or even attempt to use it. Have you ever repeated jargon in a manner so that others might perceive that you understand it when, in reality, you don’t, at least not fully? If so, you are in good company. Most people only understand part of the jargon they use, especially acronyms. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to state things as simply as possible and to provide explanations and descriptions whenever possible so that everyone, the experts, the so-called experts, and those on the fringes, truly can comprehend your message.

Peter Drucker (in “How to Be an Employee” published in Fortune magazine in 1952) writes, “Your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken or the written word.” Study after study shows that managers and C-level executives spend between 78 and 87 percent of their time communicating. Since you spend some much time in this activity, doesn’t it make sense to be expert at it?

Since we communicate every day all the time, we might think that communication is simple. It is not. While much communication is based on common sense, that alone does not ensure clear and effective communication. In fact, all communication is flawed at some level. Expert communicators employ a number of techniques including word choice (semantics), appropriate language (linguistics), speaking and writing effectively (rhetoric), people skills (sociology and psychology), presentation skills (graphic design), and a general command to relay messages.

To be effective, business communication must achieve the desired results; in other words, you decide what you want to accomplish as a result of your communication (your objective), and you convince your audience to act in a manner that enables you to attain that objective. Any business communication that does not result in you accomplishing your objective, fails.

–Rich Maggiani

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