In this month’s Business Column, Business Support Specialist Heidi Green explains how communication and positive body language are key to ensuring a successful business and happy customers.
The definition of communication is a process through which individuals mutually exchange their ideas and thoughts through verbal and non-verbal means.
No matter if it is speaking to someone face to face, on the telephone, writing or just standing around, you are communicating. Everything you say and do will be giving a message about you and your company and this is how business can be won or lost.
One of the first things you can do to improve your business is use your two ears and one mouth! Make the communication two way. Sometimes you need to just hold back from telling others things until you know exactly what they are looking for.
Do not rush, take your time, ask questions to ensure you have the facts right and respect the other person’s point of view.
As with everything, before you engage with someone think about your objectives, what do you want from the conversation? Being clear about your intended outcome and any obstacles that are likely to stand in your way helps you achieve your desired goal.
Plan and prepare and choose your approach. How you communicate is often as important as what you communicate, so will the message be more effective face to face via a formal meeting or would it be better in writing? If you are on the telephone, please remember to keep focussed on that call, don’t do something else at the same time and have to ask someone to repeat themselves. Turn off the computer and concentrate on that call.
Think about your body language when you meet people, good eye contact, a smile and a welcoming handshake can make all the difference.
Now, think before you speak. Sounds obvious but how often have you heard people “talking out loud” just to gather their thoughts. It is not just about making a noise, you need to have a purpose for that noise.
Be nosey! A good communicator is genuinely interested in listening, not just talking. They want to gain knowledge and hear what the other person is saying. It will help you to frame your offer better.
In summary, prepare, listen, take your time, clarify and build up a great rapport to solve the problem for your customer and achieve the desired outcome for yourself. Thank people for their time and, if necessary, follow up in writing.
Business Support York & North Yorkshire have over 30 years experience in helping businesses communicate better with their clients.