Efficient business communication is the key to success in nearly every field. During the meetings we make new contacts, gain business partners and present our business's assets. The right relations are also essential within an individual company - due to them it functions effectively and most conflicts can be solved. Many people struggle, however, with issues regarding the correct pronunciation, diction, gestures and stress, which appears during business meetings. What should we pay attention to while communicating?
Voice is your ally... or foe
During business meetings we present ourselves with the right clothing, gestures, face expressions and posture. The way we speak is also incredibly important, as it may be the deciding factor in creating a good relation with another person. Because of that, we should remember about the right voice modulation. If you speak in a monotonous way, you are making your listeners sleepy and think of you as of a boring person– says Daniel Bordman,Voice Changing Expert, Image Specialist of Bordman Training company. An increased dynamism in your speech will make you appear as a person fascinated by what they are talking about. Naturally, we should not overdo it.
The strength of the voice is also important during business meetings. The more confident and stable the voice is, the more confident the speaker seems to be about what they are saying. Interestingly, a low voice makes us seem more credible. It is also good to make use of stress in our speech, as long as we know how to use it and what to highlight through it, as it makes our speech seem more interesting, and it will also be more memorable. Daniel Bordman also encourages to use pauses – if we are speaking for a long period of time, it may also grab the listeners' attention. If we want to convey a stronger message, it may help to lower the tone at the end of the more important words.
Our pronunciation is also important. Small mistakes in pronunciation will not have a big influence on the outcome of a business meeting. The essence of the message is the most important. But if there are two people speaking substantively, the one speaking more clearly will appear as the more competent person – explains Daniel Bordman.
Voice is especially important during phone or Skype conversations or conferences. If we can't be seen, the whole attention is on our speech. It is good to use short sentences, speak slowly and stick to the point.
Main mistakes in communication
To improve our communication abilities, it's good to start by focusing on the mistakes we make.
Daniel Bordman talks about one "deadly sin" and three "venial sins". The biggest mistake is a blind conviction that we are right. If we focus on standing up for our opinion, we are not open to rational arguments. We are simply not listening to our partner but thinking about ways to defend our argument. This makes the real problems become insignificant – says the expert.
We should also make sure to confirm our arrangements by e-mail or in writing. After some time the both sides may remember the conversation in a completely different way. The second "venial sin" is failing to set the aim of the meeting. It is very easy to waste time in this way without achieving anything. The third mistake is conducting the meeting without assigning tasks to the participants. Some time later everybody will be surprised that the arrangements have not been implemented.
Many people will need to speak publicly during their career. Some people are at ease with it but for others it may be a nightmare. How can we minimise the stress during public appearances and presentations?
The biggest mistake we can make during our speech is... to focus on ourselves. If you are thinking about how well you will do and what people will think of you, then you will become stressed out. Whereas if you focus on the listeners and make them the most important, it will certainly decrease the stress. Frankly speaking, we are told that other people will pay attention to us and it is not true (at least not entirely) – they are interested in whether they will benefit from listening to you. Make sure to provide interesting contents, and the listeners will be overjoyed – claims Daniel Bordman. The first question we need to ask ourselves before speaking publicly is: what will the listeners gain from my presentation. If the answer is nothing, it's better not to even start.
If we believe in what we are saying, speak with confidence and with a good intonation – the listeners will definitely not fall asleep during our speech, and we will convey the message we have planned to convey.