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Business Rendezvous – Improve your business communication skills

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Entrepreneurs and business persons often downplay the importance of effective communication to the success of their businesses. While it is true that ‘money talks’ in today’s complex environment, the entrepreneur has to be able to communicate with persons of varying social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Today, more than money has to talk. Among the persons entrepreneurs have to communicate with are external customers, employees, bankers, suppliers, business partners and other business persons. {{more}}

Communication Goals and Objectives

Whenever you communicate you should seek to bring about change in the persons with whom you are communicating in one or all of the following areas:

* Emotional (Feeling) – To get the recipient to feel something, for example guilt (“You are the only person who hasn’t used this product as yet”) or even pride (“See how much better your life is since you are using this product”).

* Intellectual or (Knowledge) – To make the recipient think or help them to know something, the price, benefits, where products can be found etc.

* Physical (Action) – To make the recipient do something, to buy and use products repeatedly.

Communication Skills

As business persons and entrepreneurs you may find that talking on the telephone and face-to-face conversations are used quite often.

Relatively cheaper telephone rates may mean that this becomes your primary means of communicating particularly with suppliers from overseas. Therefore, you must know the courtesies and rules that must be observed when using these means. From time to time you may also have to use written forms of communication. If you have to write a letter make sure that someone checks it over for you before it is sent out. Even the best of us can make mistakes. The internet is also providing entrepreneurs with an efficient and cost-effective means to do business. However, many business persons are still not aware of how they can use it as a means of communication for their businesses. Others who are knowledgeable may still be hesitant fearing abuse by employees. Like the telephone the use of the internet must be monitored and or restricted.

The communication skills you will need to develop as a business person are writing, listening and speaking.

What do you have to write?

You may have to write letters, orders, memos and invoices. You will have to fill forms used in your business, for example registering your business. Business persons and entrepreneurs MUST keep a record of business transactions, not in their heads but in proper record books.

What do you have to listen to?

Customers have needs that must be addressed. They also make complaints, if you don’t listen you will not be able to deal with these issues effectively and build your client base. If you have employees they can make vital suggestions on how you can improve your business operations. Listening shows that you are appreciative of their contribution. In addition you may need to gain an understanding of problems affecting employees’ performance whether these are generated in the business or not. Listening to advice from business and financial counselors can also help you to make the right decisions at the right time.

Why Speak?

One of the best ways to give instructions is to speak directly to the person. In that way clarification can be sought if the message is not clear. From the very beginning you would have to express your business idea to the Business Development Officer when seeking advice at the Centre for Enterprise Development Inc. or wherever you go for assistance in developing your business proposal. Next you must articulate your business goals and objectives to your bankers as you seek funding. Later your employees need to be aware of what you expect from them. The better you are able to express yourself orally, the greater the chance that you would be understood. In the real world everything does not happen as one would expect so even if expectations are expressed, chances are you would still find someone who acts contrary to your business goals. In such situations you would have to correct the undesirable behaviourn

– Submitted by the Centre for Enterprise Development Inc. First Floor Methodist Building, Granby Street, P.O. Box 2343. Kingstown, St. Vincent. CED is a non-profit company that provides business development services to the local private sector.

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