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Communication skills – what we say matters, but how we say it matters more

By January 8, 2018 No Comments

Calling all budding business girls and guys! Getting into the entrepreneurial spirit is the future of SA’s economy. If you are fortunate enough to have a great business idea that you’re passionate about (plus the skills to carry it out), and that could also make you some moola, you’ve already got a head start.

But what about your business communication skills? Have you ever thought about how the words that you use can affect your success (or lack of success) in business? Communication – both written and verbal – is a vital skill. Entrepreneurs need communications skills, if they want to get their ideas across, be clearly understood, and win over a prospective client when making a pitch.

Here’s why you need to make your words count, and tips on how to do it:

Explain your idea clearly so people understand why it is amazing

If you are pitching an idea that is complex, you need to be sure that the words you choose to explain yourself are clear and logical. If the concept is difficult to understand, people will not buy into the idea. Explaining an idea in a way that is understandable is one of the most vital entrepreneur skills that you need to develop.

Spend some time thinking about, and writing down how you would explain your idea in a pitch scenario, focusing on simple words and benefits. Then refine it, avoiding too many catch phrases or industry terms. You don’t have to learn it off by heart, but it is a good starting point for knowing what you need to talk about.

Too many words makes people lose interest

Ever sat through a speech that went on and on, or received an email that contained multiple paragraphs to explain something simple? Too many words when just a few will do can kill the interest of prospective clients or partners very quickly, even if your concept is fantastic.

Again, write down what you need to say and then refine it until you can get your message across in as few words as possible. In the case of emails, save a template that you can send on as required, knowing that the words you have used are just right.

Be specific when closing a conversation

If you have had a good meeting or phone call with positive feedback, try to end the conversation with words that imply some kind of action. “Thank you for your time” is polite, but boring and empty. However, “I’ll send you a proposal” or “My colleague will be contacting you about xyx” – or even setting up a meeting – is more specific, and lets your prospective client know that you are serious and mean business.

Lastly… think before you Tweet or Facebook

Social media has become a hugely important part of our society – and it is something you need to consider as an entrepreneur and as an individual. If you have social media accounts for your business concept, be careful about what you put out there. The Internet is forever.

It is important to stay neutral on controversial topics such as religion or politics. Similarly, stay away from online arguments or feuds. Consider that your business profile is often linked to your personal profile – so you may want to start monitoring your behaviour online in general. Anything inflammatory that you involve yourself in online could be damaging to your reputation.

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