The arena of Big Business is a big stakes affair, where clarity and understanding are at a premium. One mistake, one false step could be the difference between success and failure with untold fortunes hanging in the balance. The worst mistake you could possibly make is losing an account or getting the raw end of a deal because you gave it away in the board room. The key to business success is not data analysis or out-of-the-box strategizing. The key is clear, effective communication skills:
#1 CONFIDENCE: Whether you’re negotiating contract terms, brokering a six-figure deal or simply pitching your company’s latest plan, successful business communication rests almost exclusively on how well you exude confidence in your speech and body language. If it’s in any way apparent that you lack full and total confidence in what you are saying, your audience will pick up on this, and don’t be surprised if they then agree. Posture, eye contact, clear annunciation, and a positive disposition are crucial to any business presentation.
#2 – KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Make it a point to always understand whom you are speaking to. This will help you tailor your approach, cut through the bull and make effective use of everyone’s time – theirs and yours.
#3 – KNOW THE JARGON, AND HOW TO USE IT: Effective business communication has its own vernacular, and it’s absolutely imperative that you know this “insider’s language” as well as you do standard English, more so for business since so much of the terminology is applied in short-hand to save time and keep pace.
#4 – KNOW YOUR FACTS AND FIGURES: Your communication skills will be quickly rendered meaningless if you don’t show a thorough command of the pertinent data. Be prepared. Don’t be the peon rummaging through notes trying to find something. KNOW IT. This underscores the confidence angle from point #1. Know the data from memory, master it and you will exude confidence and convince your audience of your skill and acumen.
#5 – DON’T WAIT TO TALK, LISTEN: Business communication, like any other, requires give-and-take. It is a two-way street. Listen to the person you’re talking to and be ready to absorb their input. This not only helps you seem engaged, it helps you stay mentally focused on the discussion at hand.
#6 – BE CLEAR, BE CONCISE: “Brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare famously said. What he meant by this is don’t waste people’s time. If you can say something in one sentence, then by all means do so. Effective communication is most often simple communication.
Be prepared, be confident, know your facts ahead of time and look everyone in the eye, and you will master the board room in no time.