5 Ways to Improve Your Professional Communication Skills was originally published on Firsthand.
Success in any industry relies on developing strong communication skills, which are essential to sharing information with colleagues, managers, and clients. So, below are five easy ways to improve your professional communication skills and boost your career in the process.
1. Expand Your Industry Vocabulary
Every industry uses specific words and phrases. So, one of the easiest ways to improve your professional communication skills is to learn your industry’s jargon. To do that, you can join online industry groups, attend virtual and in-person industry events, and read industry-specific books. These actions will help you to become more proficient in your industry’s specific language, improving your ability to communicate with everyone you work with
2. Be Clear
Regardless of whether you’re communicating verbally or through the written word, it’s essential to be clear. Clarity is your best friend in the workplace; anything but well-thought-out communication creates confusion. So, if you want to be better at business communication, you must learn how to transfer information clearly.
The first step toward clarity is defining your goals and the audience you’ll be communicating with. This will tell you who you’re talking to and what you’ll be talking about. Second, avoid unnecessary words and confusing language, which only makes it more difficult for others to understand your message. Lastly, never repeat yourself. Only repeat your message if the other person needs more clarity.
Sometimes, you’ll need to make a presentation or explain your progress on a project. When that happens, it’s important to prepare ahead of time, thinking about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Note that preparation is more than talking in front of the mirror for your big presentation. Preparation means researching the best way to get your message across. It means searching for the right words to use, the right examples to convey, and how to best use your body language to get your message across.
4. Get Better at Using Communication Tools
Of course, not all professional dealings are verbal. In fact, you’ll mostly communicate with colleagues, clients, customers, suppliers, and partners through email. But email isn’t the only communication tool you’ll be using. Communication through messaging apps like Slack is also quite common in the business world. And people are of course increasingly reliant on video-conferencing apps like Zoom. The bottom line is that you’ll be using plenty of communication tools in the workplace. Therefore, it’s important to get better at using these tools.
5. Learn to Listen
Listening is a core component of communication. In fact, modern workplace leaders are excellent listeners. Listening, which some believe is the most important social skill, helps in numerous workplace situations, including defusing workplace tensions. So, if you want to succeed in any sphere of work and take your career to the next level, you must learn how to listen.
One of the keys to becoming a great listener is becoming an active listener. Active listening includes deeply listening to others without thinking about what you’re going to say in response. It also includes paying attention to body language cues. So, it means listening with your eyes as well as your ears. Although learning to become a great active listener won’t happen overnight, the good news is listening in this way can be learned, and there are many great online courses out there that can help.
Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to over 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start Great.com, an iGaming organization that donates 100 percent of its profits to environmental charities. In addition to running a successful online affiliate business, Erik hosts the Becoming Great podcast, shares entrepreneurship tips with his more than 1 million social media followers, and contributes to sites like Entrepreneuer.com, Business Insider, Foundr, and Forbes.