Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Why you need good communication skills in business

Every aspect of a business is governed by communication. Effective communication between the executive and those that do the work is essential to ensure that the right work is being done. Every business must be able to communicate with its customers. A lack of communications skills can affect the bottom line. How often does your interaction with a company's call centre drive you to the opposition? Never underestimate the importance of communication skills in business.

Communication in business takes place on a number of levels.

Communication between the business and the outside world is of prime importance. Effective communication with clients is one of the keys to keeping a business alive. Without its clients, a business has no reason to exist. Only a monopoly with 'captive clients' can sustain itself without effective external communication.

Client communication begins with marketing. Marketing lays the foundation of a business's communication with its client. Marketing is the ability to communicate the benefits of the products and services that a business offers. It establishes the image of the organisation, and creates an element of public trust in the organisation.

The sales force provides the next level of client communication. The sales force must be able to represent the company and its products accurately to potential clients. A failure on the sales front can cause irreparable damage to the business.

Many companies fail on the third level of client communication. The call centre is often the first line of support for a company's products. Often too little time and effort is invested in the call centre. All too often call centre consultants are under-trained, incompetent or lacking in motivation and commitment. The call-centre is the business's window to the world. A good call centre consultant is able to retain a client even where past service has been bad. A bad consultant can lose almost any client!

Also in the realm of communication with the outside world is communication with stakeholders, other businesses and the media. These areas of communication are crucial. Appropriate communication skills are required to represent the company to the world through the media. Stakeholders may include shareholders, government and other interested parties.

From time to time it may be necessary to use other businesses to provide services for the company. In a typical scenario, a firm of consultants is brought in to achieve specific objectives. Three years and many millions of dollars later, the consultants are removed in disgrace. The failure is often one of communication. The consulting firm is brought in and left to intuit the requirements. The objectives have not been communicated to the consulting house and the executive are just too busy to meet with the consultants. Proper communication includes carefully specifying the requirements and discussing the expected outcomes. Lines of communication must be open to manage the project effectively.

Internal communication plays as important a role in running an effective business. The most important principles here are the ability to communicate requirements effectively and accurately. Lines of communication must be open. Secrecy is the enemy of effective communication and may lead to misunderstandings and mistrust.

There are many lines of internal communication. These include communication between board members, communication between the board and the executive, communication to management and communication to staff. Departmental or divisional barriers should not be allowed to become communication barriers.

Open lines of communication are essential if the businesses strategy is to work.

Effective communication skills are required at all levels. These include both oral and written communication skills. Presentations must be clear and to the point. A skilled negotiator is able to listen effectively. Reports should be concise, accurate and readable. Errors and failures of an organisation are often the result of miss-communication, at times the total absence of communication. When it comes to the business's window to the world the call centre must ensure that the consultants are trained and able to communicate. They must be able to listen, and their responses should be backed by genuine knowledge.

Communication includes an often neglected skill the ability to listen. A business that listens to its clients is more able to meet their requirements. A business that listens to its staff may enjoy better labour relations and may benefit from the many ideas and innovations that its staff suggest.

If a business has a will to succeed, it must be able to communicate to the world, its clients and to itself.

2 comments:

business communication course said...

Nice Article!! Effective Communication required on each and every stage rather at business perspective or in life. It is necessary to build up a strong communication skills and helpful a lot!!

Alston said...

I agree with what you say. Ofcourse communication skill is a must for Business and its development. It was a drawback in my business too. Then I did a course from Fast Track Tools through e-learning cd.