Our communication is SO unbelievably powerful!
Whilst communication is quite a broad subject, in order to forge better relationships in business, we have to learn to communicate effectively and H.O.T.T.E.R. By doing so, we create an environment where our business connections can get to know, like and trust us.
Now, effectively communicating with others is not always easy. There will be struggles, challenges, frustrations, annoyances and all the other grumbles that crop up that will impact on our communication style.
Also, as much of our communication in business tends to be electronic, it can be even more challenging to forge strong relationships. Reason being that there’s more scope for misunderstandings, confusion and some key elements of communication is lost.
It’s Time To Pay Attention!
It’s said that communication when related to feelings and attitudes, can be broken down as follows:
55% of communication is based on what you’re doing when you speak (your physiology). Thus, if you’re meeting people face to face or doing a video call, consideration to your body language, postures, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact etc. is key.
38% of communication is based on the way you say it (tone and voice) e.g. timbre, pitch, speed, volume, pauses, rhythm.
Whilst only 7% of communication is based on what is said (words used).
Taking those percentages into account, we really do need to pay attention to the way we are communicating.
These three parts of the message need to support each other, especially in a world where we are building more and more relationships online, rather than face to face and losing that vital 55% of communication.
Deep listening is a significant element of communication. It can’t be emphasised enough, the importance of being fully present and paying attention to another person.
To be able to consciously and empathetically listen without judgement. To be truly able to see and feel the situation from the other person’s position. This applies to written communication too.
There’s a quote by Stephen Covey who wrote the popular book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ where he says: “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
How true is this?
Our internal chatter can often lead us to jump into the conversation whilst another person is still talking. Sometimes we’re already formulating our response before they’ve finished talking. Or we can be so distracted by other things going on around us that we’re not actually listening to the other person.
Not only this, people often underestimate the power of authenticity when it comes to communication. Authenticity is one of the major keys to forging strong business relationships.
Building authentic connections starts from a place where you can always make your communication H.O.T.T.E.R.: Honest, Open, Trustworthy, Two-Way, Empathetic and Relatable.
A place where you show yourself to be someone who is kind, upholding of your integrity and understanding of others.
One way to make your communication H.O.T.T.E.R. in your business relationships is to:
EXPRESS GRATITUDE IN YOUR BUSINESS!
Here are 3 simple tips to do this:
1. Follow Up
It’s said the fortune is in the follow up. Therefore drop the person a note after a meeting/a call and let them know how and why it was a pleasure for you to spend time with them. It’s even more powerful if you can personalise it by reflecting back to something that was said in the meeting.
Also, check in with them every couple of months or so, if you’re not in regular contact. This isn’t to push sales or a business transaction, but to see how things are going. It’s a great way to build and nurture rapport and remind them that you’re still there. People have a lot going on in life and you might be not be remembered!
If you have employees, a team or a support network – you may be part of online/offline groups, thank them for their efforts or for simply just being there.
Even if you expect them to, appreciation goes a long way. It demonstrates that the work they do or their presence is integral to the success of your business or to your personal growth in some way.
Could you send them a written ‘Thank You’ note? Hand written notes are extremely powerful if there is a way for you to get this to them. Think about it. Who really takes the time to handwrite a note anymore? It’s such a lost sentiment.
Or maybe post a sticky note on their desk monitor saying thanks and explaining why. It’s a simple but effective way to say thank you. Could you run employee / team member / active group member of the month initiatives? Perhaps have fun by heading out for lunch or plan something enjoyable?
3. Double Thanks
Thank your clients/customers for doing business with you, after the transaction either verbally, by video message or in writing. Yes, you provided them with a product or service and they thanked you by paying for it.
However, there’s such added value and appreciation in thanking the person for the opportunity to provide them that service. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy “formal” letter. A quick, short thank you note can be just as meaningful.
Adopting the ‘attitude of gratitude’ to make your communication H.O.T.T.E.R. will keep the fire burning in your business relationships. Thus, creating a win-win situation for all!