Communication is at the heart of everything we do, and good communication skills are critical, particularly in the business world. Ideally, it should be a two-way process. While one person is providing information, the other should not only understand what is being said, but show they are receptive to it. The ability to communicate effectively requires strong verbal and listening skills, but also the ability to recognise non-verbal cues.
Our Communicate with Influence course is valuable professional development for managers and office professionals and will help you choose the right communication method to convey your message, improve your interpersonal communication skills, and communicate with confidence both verbally and non-verbally.
In this communicating with influence course you will explore the art and science of communicating with influence, build trust with those you are communicating with, and learn to fine-tune your listening skills by asking the right questions.
You will also gain insights into how to make an impact with non-verbal behaviours, how to capture the attention of senior executives and the signs and how to resolve miscommunication.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a communicating with influence course include:
- Learning how to communicate with influence
- Exploring how to confirm mandate or authority
- Gaining an understanding of using appropriate language
- Studying how to negotiate persuasively
- Examining advancing business interests
- Understanding group decision making
- Attaining the knowledge of agreed outcomes
- Gaining insights into the differences of opinion
- Learning about communication styles
- Exploring aggressive behaviour
- Gaining an understanding of diversity and compromise
- Studying personal conflict
- Examining positive work environments
- Understanding the PICN Model
- Attaining knowledge of negotiation
- Gaining insights into problem-solving techniques
- Learning how to develop work relationships
- Exploring how to maintain credibility and trust
- Gaining an understanding of how to lead meetings effectively
- Studying guest speakers and participants
- Examining agendas and meeting procedures
- Understanding how to keep meetings on track
- Attaining knowledge of summarising key issues
- Gaining insights into meeting minutes
- Learning how to prepare effective presentations
- Exploring law and ethics
Communicating Effectively in Business
Effective communication is a vital tool for any business owner, and communicating with influence and getting your point across can be the difference between a positive outcome or missing out on a potential opportunity.
When it comes to clients and customers, you should be able to clearly explain company policies and answer their questions about their products and services. In negotiations, it is crucial to communicate effectively to ensure you achieve your goals.
Effective communication is also important within a business. It can help foster positive relationships with colleagues and managers, which can improve efficiency and morale.
Success in any conversation is likely to be achieved through both parties listening to and understanding each other. It also helps to consider the circumstances surrounding your communications, such as the situational and cultural context. Some key communication skills that can build positive interpersonal relationships include:
- active listening
- understanding non-verbal signals
- maintaining eye contact
- being mindful of people’s individual space
- using positive body language
- dealing with different points of view.
Personal awareness skills that help with communication include:
- understanding the benefits of a positive attitude
- an awareness of how others perceive you
- presentation — dressing appropriately for different occasions.
Tips for Improving Non-verbal Communication
As you’ll learn in our communicating with influence course, strong communication skills can be critical to successful business dealings. And research has shown that non-verbal behaviours make up a large percentage of our daily interpersonal communication. Here are some tips on how to read some of these, which will enhance your ability to communicate more effectively.
Pay attention to non-verbal signals
People communicate in a variety of ways, including non-verbally and these signals often convey important information that is not put into words. They include gestures, eye contact, posture, tone of voice and body movements.
Look for incongruent behaviours
The word “incongruent” essentially means conflicting, and in terms of communication refers to an individual’s words not matching their non-verbal behaviours. For example, someone communicating that they are happy, but frowning and staring at the ground at the same time. These behaviours can give insights into unspoken moods, emotions and thoughts.
Focus on tone of voice
An individual’s tone of voice can convey a wealth of information, from disinterest and anger to enthusiasm. Tone can also be an effective way of amplifying a message and emphasising ideas. For example, if you want to show genuine interest in something, expressing enthusiasm by using an animated voice will not only convey your feelings about a topic but help generate interest in those who are listening to you.
Maintain eye contact
Good eye contact is another essential non-verbal communication skill. If individuals fail to have eye contact, it can seem as though they are evading or trying to hide something. Conversely, too much eye contact can come across as being intimidating or confrontational. So how do you know how much is appropriate? Some communication experts recommend intervals of eye contact lasting four to five seconds, but ultimately, to be effective, it should feel comfortable and natural to you and those you are communicating with.
If you are confused about another person’s non-verbal signals, ask questions. A useful strategy is to repeat back your interpretation of what has been said and ask for clarification. Examples include:
“So what you are saying is that …”
“Do you mean that we should …”
“What I’m hearing is that you think …”
For example, a person might be giving off certain non-verbal signals because they have something else on their mind. By inquiring further into their intent and their message, you might get a better idea of what they are really trying to say.
Use signals to add meaning
Both verbal and non-verbal communication work together to convey a message. Body language can be used to reinforce and support your spoken communication. This is particularly valuable when speaking to a large group of people or when making a presentation. For example, if you want to appear prepared and confident during a presentation, focus on sending non-verbal signals that show you are capable and self-assured. These include keeping your shoulders back, standing firmly in one place, and keeping your weight balanced on both feet.
Look at signals as a whole
Another important aspect of good non-verbal communication skills involves being able to take a more holistic approach to what an individual is communicating. A single gesture can mean any number of things, or maybe even nothing at all. The key to reading non-verbal behaviour is to look for multiple signals that reinforce a common point.
Consider the context
When communicating with others, always consider the context and situation in which the communication occurs. Some situations require more formal behaviours that might be interpreted very differently in another setting. To improve your non-verbal communication, it’s useful to concentrate on ways to make your signals match the level of formality needed for the situation.
Improve your morale, productivity and business relationships with a communicating with influence course such as our Communicate with Influence.