Communication is the key to every relationship. If you're trying to run a business, excellent communication skills are a must.

Getting your point across, capturing an audience, and avoiding misunderstandings are critical for effective communication. Mastering communications skills are fundamental for career and business success.

If you want to avoid misunderstandings with your audience, this guide will help. Here are seven tips for communicating clearly with customers and employees.

1. Keep It Simple 

Long, wordy speeches are boring. No one likes to sit in an endless meeting with an overly verbose speaker. 

In fact, talking too long or trying to cover too much at once can backfire. People get bored, drift off, and forget everything you say.

The best advice for regular team meetings and communicating with employees is to keep it simple and to the point. If you want people to hear you and comprehend your message, keep it concise.

Don't overcomplicate things. Make your message clear. Your employees and customers will appreciate it and are much more likely to listen to what you have to say.

2. Be an Active Listener

There's much more to communication than being a great speaker. You must be a great listener as well.

Being an active listener requires giving your full attention to the speaker at hand and responding to what they're saying. In one-to-one communication, eye contact is key.

Reacting as you listen with head nods, a smile, or an "I see," lets the other person know you hear them and value their opinion. It's about being involved and invested in what someone is saying.

If you're interested, you must show them. If you're communicating online, be responsive and follow up, summarize what they told you: that lets them know you listened.

If you need time to think before you respond, let the other person know you're involved and are considering what they have to say.

3. Stay Positive

Whether you're involved in customer service communicating with prospects and customers, or meeting with employees, it's important to be positive. You achieve better results when you keep your tone and your message positive.

The words you speak and the way you speak matter, especially if you're in charge. People are looking to you to set the tone in the workplace, and your words and actions do just that. 

The same is true for asking questions. Asking a negative question creates doubt and confusion.

To get better results and more engaged listeners, keep your messaging positive whenever possible.

4. Don't Interrupt

This is a tough one. When you disagree with someone or feel your point is valid, it's tempting to interrupt to speak your mind. But no one likes to be interrupted.

If a customer has a complaint, hear them out before offering a solution. Having a customer communication strategy in place can help you keep your cool and stay in control. 

Listening to disgruntled customers will make them feel better and help disperse any angry feelings. The same is true for dealing with customers online. Don't fire back in anger.

Think about what they are saying and consider your response. Whether you're dealing with customers or employees, it's helpful to listen and avoid interrupting.

5. Check for Understanding

A conversation is a two-way street. You can't have a meaningful discussion or meeting without checking for understanding.

If your audience feels lost or confused, you will lose them. In a one-to-one conversation, take the time to ask questions and paraphrase the other person's words to make sure you are clear.

Pause while you are talking to let the other person respond or ask questions for clarity. When someone doesn't understand you, go back to the last point they understood and then move forward with slower and more concise wording.

6. Use Visuals

In some situations, a picture says it better. Strong communicators know a picture can enhance a presentation and help convey a message or idea. Charts, graphs, screenshots, photos, or videos can all add additional value to a message.

Some people are highly visual and absorb new information more easily when presented with a visual. Visuals can be powerful when chosen carefully. They can provide proof, create a lighthearted moment, or stir emotion.

Consider adding a visual to your next meeting or presentation and see if it makes a difference for you.

7. Watch for Misinterpreted Words

Have you ever said something and meant it one way, but someone took it completely the wrong way? Your tone and inflection as you speak can have an effect on an audience and can lead to misunderstandings.

This is especially important if you have international employees or customers. Make sure you're on the same page and they know your intention.

Be careful with the overuse of the word "you." Saying it too much as you speak can make the listener feel targeted or defensive.

In English "you" can mean people in general. In other languages, it does not. So, the listener could feel you are talking about them specifically and take offense.

When someone is upset, avoid saying, "calm down." It typically makes things worse.

The old saying "think before you speak" is so true. No one is a perfect speaker. But considering your audience and the message you want to send before you speak is always a plus.

Communicating With Customers and Employees

As a business leader, clarity and connecting through your communications is a must. Being an effective communicator is critical for trust, understanding, and dealing with customers and employees every day.

Words are powerful and can either win over your audience or turn them away from your message. Understanding some key tips for better communication can help you avoid misunderstandings and drive your message home.

Great communication is a learnable skill, and we have excellent ways to improve your and your team’s results and create engaged, loyal, and effective employees who delight your customers.

If you're interested in more tips on effective communications and want to explore further or have questions, let’s set up a time to talk.  Brian Tracy USA: 877.433.6225 Email Me