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Harnessing Business Communication Skills

Introduction

Understanding my leadership strengths and weaknesses as a manager and developing my communication skills is an essential part of my professional growth. With good business communication skills, it is easier for me to accomplish anything because communication is the basis of every managerial function (Oussii & Klibi, 2017). In this essay, I give a personal reflection of my business communication skills, which I consider the most significant personal quality I have. I will describe the insights, evaluate and interpret the attributes business communication skills that I own, how these skills are a strength for me and contexts where these qualities have proven helpful. Furthermore, I will explore the various situations where I have found it challenging to deploy my communication skills.

Business communication skills
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Schartel & Lane (2019) defined business communication skills as the effective ways of exchanging thoughts, ideas, information and knowledge within an organizational context, such that the communicator’s intentions are achieved. In simple terms, effective business communication skills refer to the ability to present my views in a manner best understood by the information recipient. In a business context, effective business communication involves different elements namely: the sender and the recipient. The sender is the person who sends the message to initiate the communication, while the recipient is the person to whom the message is sent (Okoro et al, 2017).

One of the reasons why I consider effective business communication skills as my most important and significant personal qualities is that I display the various characteristics of an effective communicator. A principle that I hold whenever I communicate with anyone is that it is not enough to just deliver the message; rather, any information that I seek to communicate must meet its purpose to the sender (Leontev, 2018). While writing about effective communication in an organizational context, Blewitt et al (2018) and MacDermott & Ortiz (2017) both argued that communicators must maintain various attributes of effective communication such as delivering a clear, correct, complete and precise message, as well as maintaining reliability while being considerate of the recipient’s listening abilities.

My pursuit to deliver a clear message entails ensuring that any information I try to communicate must be easy to communicate, simple and systematically developed to maintain its meaning. Likewise, when trying to deliver correct messages, I ensure that the information is as accurate as possible. It must also be grammatically correct, free from errors and vagueness. One thing that I usually do to maintain correct messaging, especially in written communication, is to use grammar checking software such as Turnitin or Grammarly to ensure that I write grammatically correct information that would not create a sense of falsehood among the recipients. I have also developed a habit of re-reading my written communication just to eliminate any errors of communication or vagueness. It is also through the software and re-reading that I ensure my written communication is complete. This is especially important because according to Okoro et al (2017), incomplete information affects effective decision making.

During my communication endeavors, I deliver reliable messages by ensuring that I am sure with every information and the recipient can trust such information. While sometimes I find it difficult to gain the recipients’ trust, I often use specific techniques such as communicating consistently, taking responsibility for any message I send, under-promising and over-delivering to gain their trust.

I believe that effective communication is an art that one must enhance with constant experience and practice (Leontev, 2018). In the past previous years, I have tried to acquire the various skills for effective communication that can prove my mastery of the art. For instance, I have mastered the art of observance during face-to-face communication, enabling me to acquire more information from the recipient than what they are verbally communicating. This concurs with Blewitt et al’s (2018) argument that during an interaction between two people, they must observe each other’s body language to facilitate better communication. Through observation, I can tell when I am delivering too much information (information overload) than the recipient can acquire or tell whether the recipient is not attentive enough to receive information.

I also do speak or write with brevity and clarity to facilitate better and faster understanding of the information I am trying to relay. According to MacDermott et al (2017), effective communication entails simple and clearly defined sentences that enhance the precision with which the information is delivered. Otherwise, the information might not create the desired impact on the recipient. To ensure clear and simple verbal and written communication, I do speak slowly and deliver point after point rather than combining different points within one sentence. I also adopt the same strategy in written communication, whereby I deliver information in short paragraphs, each paragraph communicating a specific message.

I also do try to carefully listen and understand the other person’s piece of information before responding. According to Dwyer & Hopwood (2019), a good communicator must develop the skill of being attentive and alert when receiving information so that they can easily interpret it and give appropriate feedback. In my verbal communications, listening and understanding take a center stage because I do not want to give false feedback. This explains why I never interrupt the other speaker as they speak. Moreover, in case I feel the need to interrupt them as they speak, I wait for them to finish their initial point and interrupt before allowing them to deliver their next point. However, the art of listening without interrupting is a tactful one, which requires patience, tolerance, and emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is especially an important communication skill because it dictates how people interact during a conversation. One thing I realize is that without emotional intelligence, one cannot have good listening skills because they might be carried away by their emotions and interrupt the speaker before they finish putting across their point. Penrod et al (2017) also puts across the same opinion by stating that a good communicator must be aware of how their emotions might influence others. Having realized and experienced the important role of emotional intelligence in communication, I intend to engage in constant development and maintenance of my emotional intelligence to enable me to maintain effective communication abilities.

The other skills that I have mastered to facilitate my effective communication are self-confidence and self-efficacy. One cannot expect the receiver to pay attention and deliver feedback on information sent by a sender who lacks self-confidence because the message would no longer be worthy to the listener (Javed & Umar 2019). According to Ranaut (2018), self-confidence in communication is also related to self-efficacy, which entails the sender having faith in themselves and their ability to achieve the desired outcomes of the communication. To maintain self-confidence and self-efficacy in my communication, I engage in extensive research on the piece of information before delivering it, so that by the time I am ready to share it, I have the authority and confidence to speak or write.

I also never forget the importance of being respectful with my communication. Every information is delivered within a context that the sender must understand to facilitate effective communication. Bearing this in mind, I aspire to respect values, opinions, ideas and beliefs of the people I communicate with so that my message does not harm them. For instance, I use different language and tonality when speaking to children compared to when speaking to adults. Also, there are some terminologies I sue when addressing Christians that I would not use when addressing Muslims.

The other vital communication skill that I have been keen to develop is non-verbal communication. According to Penrod et al (2017), non-verbal communication refers to the various means of communication that can only be observed and not heard during an interaction. They include visual cues such as facial expression, gestures, posture sand eye contact. In my communication endeavours, I use non-verbal communication to stress on information that I feel are important. Gestures and maintaining eye contact are good at doing this. I realise that receivers pay more attention to my messages when I maintain eye contact than when I do not. It is also easier for me to understand what the other person is trying to say when they directly look at me as we have a conversation.

The penultimate communication skill that has helped me maintain a good communicating with colleagues is selecting a good communication medium. According to Schartel & Lane (2019), the communication medium is the channel through which the information passes from the sender to the receiver. A typical example of communication media is emails, phone calls or handwritten letters. One thing I realise is that different communication medium is effective when used for different purposes. For instance, when I want to invite someone to check on an advertisement on the internet, I find it easier to do so via a short message text. Contrariwise, when I am applying for a job during the summer holidays, it is appropriate to send the application through the mail. That said, I opine that the choice of communication medium is an important skill that one must master to be able to effectively communicate. Failure to select an appropriate communication medium based on the situation, context, receiver’s perspective and priority of the message can act as a barrier to effective communication.

My effective business communication skills have and will continue to enable effectively interact and communicate with colleagues both now and in my future career as a business executive. For instance, my effective communication skills have enabled me to have a generally healthy interaction with people around me, preparing me for the future role of managing people in an organizational setup. For instance, through effective communication, I have been able to develop self-discipline (i.e. as a good and understanding listener), developing the habit hearing everyone I interact with and responding to their needs based on accurate information. Penrod et al (2017) argued that people with good communication (especially listening) skills are good people managers because employees only thrive and feel motivated when they are heard by the top management. Furthermore, it is through effective listening that managers can create a culture of open communication within the organization (Leontev, 2018). Therefore, as I develop professionally, I intend to sharpen and maintain my listening skills in preparation for my future career as a manager.

Effective communication skills have also been monumental in promoting my team-building skills. In most cases, people in organizations or any other social context work as a team to accomplish several objectives. However, for the team members to effectively coordinate, they must adopt effective communication skills (Oussii & Klibi, 2017). Therefore, my skills in effective communication position me as both a good team player and team managers. More importantly, in a team context, it is only through effective communication that the team members can make quick decisions to move the organization forward. Through my effective communication skills, I can promote organizational growth by ensuring the team members share information through effective communication, to solve organizational problems facing them.

Through effective communication skills, I can develop trust and establish transparency within an organizational context. Schartel & Lane (2019) argued that without effective communication where members of an organization timely and accurately share information regarding certain aspects of the organization, other members of the organization may develop mistrust and fall out. However, because I understand the importance of transparency as communication skill, I can develop a sense of trust among other members of the organization, especially when I am in a managerial position where I need to make decisions through consultation.

I also attribute my innovation and creativity to my effective communication skills. In any environment, through effective communication skills, I can clearly and precisely share my ideas with people around me as I explore my creative and innovative side. Oussii & Klibi (2017) noted that innovation becomes more robust when the ideas are shared and jointly evaluated with other people to interrogate their validity. However, without effective communication skills such as clarity, brevity, self-confidence and self-efficacy, it would be difficult to share my ideas and innovations for others to evaluate them without any misunderstanding.

However, despite having effective business communication skills, there are certain instances when I have not been able to deploy them effectively due to factors such as word-related barriers and background-related barriers. In the following section, I review these barriers and how they have affected my ability to deploy my effective communication skills:

Word-related barriers

Ideally, words form the background of communication. Whether they are verbal or written, the process of communication relies on words and therefore any destructions in terms of words may contribute to miscommunication. For instance, sometimes I experience a language barrier not only because the recipient does not clearly understand the language through which I am speaking but also because I am using technical terms. Likewise, despite having effective listening skills, sometimes people say words that are too technical for me to understand, thus making it harder to deepen my listening skills. Moreover, in some situations, I may overuse abstractions and ambiguities that present ideas in a vague or non-realistic manner, presenting a barrier or communication to the listener.

The other forms of word-related barriers that affect the deployment of effective communication skills are disorganized messages and information overload. Regarding disorganized messages, sometimes the communicator might not organize the words properly, making the information to lose its power or meaning. On the other hand, on formation overload often occurs when I or another speaker speaks for an extended period, exhausting the receive with ideas and rendering them unable to follow every information that has been communicated.

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Background-related barriers

Because people come from different backgrounds e.g. gender, education level and culture, these attributes impact on their ability to effectively communicate. For instance, sometimes, no matter how effective I try to relay information to my colleagues, they are not able to understand due to their attitudinal differences. Sometimes they develop a mood or attitude that is resistant to understanding any piece of information regardless of its precise or clear nature. Such attitudes generally act as a barrier to the purpose of communication. Furthermore, the generational difference may hinder effective communication. Form my own experience, I realize that no matter how clear I talk to a toddler, they may not understand the information.

In conclusion, improving my business communication skills remain to be my priority. I intend to acquire knowledge through extensive, practicing and reading about effective communication skills, even though much of my focus will be on cultural differences and how I can effectively communicate in a culturally diverse environment. More importantly, I intend to enhance my listening skills and build on my confidence so that I can communicate in the most effective manner.

References

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