Developing listening skills, clarity, appropriate body language, and the ability to speak to the interests of the audience are all effective ways to improve business communication. Workplace duties typically require both verbal and written communication, including an increasing reliance on e-mail. In addition to the skills mentioned above, good sentence structure, sincerity, and language flexibility can be important in written and spoken communication to establish rapport and avoid potential confusion. With face-to-face interactions, open body language, a calm tone of voice, and the ability to convey sincere interest are crucial techniques.
The foundation of communication skills is the ability to listen to the other person and understand what he is trying to say. Demonstrating an ability to discern how the other person feels and what he may be implying is one of the better ways to improve business communication. Developing listening skills often means learning to remain silent while the other person is speaking, remembering to listen for key words and tone of voice, and asking questions. Part of being a good listener also involves repeating the main points expressed by the other person and acknowledging his concerns.
With written business communication, improvements can be made by attempting to strike the proper balance between being objective and being personable. While it is more favorable to present a professional demeanor, written communication is more likely to be interpreted favorably if the language is not extremely formal. To improve business communication, e-mail messages can be written with a concise sentence structure that uses a style resembling informal conversation.
Learning to display open body language can be another important way to improve business communication. In the majority of face-to-face interactions, regardless of what is actually said, the listener is less likely to have a favorable impression of the speaker if his or her facial expression seems to indicate disinterest or displeasure. Posture and stance can also play an important role in developing effective body language, in addition to making appropriate eye contact. When seated during a meeting, some individuals convey interest and engagement by leaning forward slightly and making slight movements with their hands while speaking.
Being able to address the audience in a direct manner is also a good way to improve business communication. Written and verbal communication may be intended for an internal or external recipient and the language should address him by name, if possible. In many cases it may be more appropriate to use second person language to create a more active, direct feel and tone. For the author or speaker, it can also be more effective to refer to him or herself in the first person.