Your success in life, and as an entrepreneur, depends largely on your ability to communicate. You need to be able to clearly communicate with employees, investors, partners, and even yourself. When it comes to improving communication skills, many entrepreneurs don’t know where to start.
There are many ways to look at communication in the business world. From individual communication like emailing – all the way to delivering a keynote speech to thousands of people, there are a ton of different contexts. Below i’ve put together a few skills that you need to master regardless the context.
Here are three essential communication skills every entrepreneur should master:
Listen, Listen, and Keep Listening.
This is without a doubt one of the most important skills in communication. Additionally, it’s one of the most overlooked skills – and it shows. The majority of us are actually terrible listeners. And it’s not because we aren’t interested in what the person has to say. Distractions from a cell phone buzz or even our own thoughts can take our attention away from the speaker in a moments notice.
Instead of letting your mind wander try your best to remain focused on the speaker. Once they’re finished, always try to verbally recap their points before moving on to your own. If you make this a habit, you will train yourself to always capture the key points from the discussion. Oh, and try to keep your phone on silent during important meetings.
Keep it concise.
As technology continues to advance it seems like our screens are getting smaller. As screens get smaller, that means you have fewer words to get your point across. In fact, it’s estimated that people spend as little as 8 seconds focused on a single issue.
Whether you’re writing an email to your colleague, or preparing for the biggest investor pitch of your life you need to follow the same structure. What’s your goal? What are your key points? And how can you deliver those points in a sharp and focused manner. A great way to practice is to cut your message down by half. This forces you to really trim the fat. If that takes away too much, you can always add more.
Pay attention to non-verbal cues.
When speaking or presenting, we’re told time and time again to stand up straight and look at our audience. Body language and non-verbal cues are a huge part of communication. So how good is your ability to interpret other people’s non-verbal cues? Aside from being a pro poker player, the ability to analyze non-verbal cues will work you wonders in life.
Try to focus on posture, facial expressions, and other gestures made by people as they talk. The more you can interpret the more valuable the conversation becomes.
Pro tip: If you’re in sales, this is a big reason why you should try to opt-in for an in person meeting to close the deal. Spending too much time over the phone means you’ll miss out on non-verbal cues from the prospect.
Developing any set of skills takes time. As an entrepreneur you should constantly make an effort to fine tune skills needed for success. The ability to effectively communicate is a skill that will pay dividends forever. That said, make sure you master the three skills listed above.