Communication is the cornerstone of modern business, regardless of its direction. Proficient communication skills help in establishing and developing business relations with partners and management as well as solving tasks within the team. Alas, some aspiring entrepreneurs have big problems with switching between everyday and business styles for the reason they are not familiar with business ethics.
If you feel your oratory skills are far from perfect, this article is just for you! In it, Lucy Adams, a blogger from BuzzEssay, considers the basic points of “commercial” communication and gives general guidelines for the development of effective communication skills.
Ethics of business communication
Communication is a very versatile process, and different situations require different approaches.
I bet at least once you have faced an inadequate service, for example, in the appliance store. Buying a loaf of bread seems nothing special, but when a drunken seller replies to you in a rude manner, the desire to make a purchase “suddenly” disappears. The same applies to signing an important business contract.
Have you ever heard about the social contract – a system of behavioral norms which regulate relations in business? If no, study it carefully because noncompliance with the social contract may damage your company.
So how to organize business communication the best way possible? Below are some essential tips divided into 3 subgroups.
#1 Communication with Subordinates
- Criticize action or inaction, not the personality.
- Give advice and teach employee only in the professional field. Leave the rest for informal communication.
- Thank subordinates every time they complete tasks in time.
- Do not allow superiors to blame your employees – first of all, it shows their disrespect to you as a manager.
- Point out the shortcomings personally. Share your vision of the problem and possible solutions. Suggest your help in confusing situations.
- Motivate employees. Be fair and honest. Celebrate outstanding achievements of individuals while praising all the stuff as a cohesive team.
#2 Communication with Managers (Leaders)
- Be honest and decent. Cheating may have deeper implications than your incompetence.
- Ask bosses for help if you really need it, but don’t disturb them just like that. Do not ask the higher management for help while bypassing your direct leaders, except in an emergency.
- If you do not agree with the proposed methods or just have a different view, let managers know it in the most polite and tactful way. Stay away from harsh assessments, be friendly.
- Clarify your tasks and coordinate solutions. It takes a little time while helps you avoid errors and misunderstanding.
#3 Communication with Customers and Partners
- Do not exaggerate the significance of your person.
- When working with partners, always outline areas of responsibility.
- Let your private life be private. Disclose it neither to leaders nor partners. Fishing out personal data is permissible only when using aggressive sales techniques.
- Keep promises. Your reputation as a business person greatly depends upon your ability to implement what you promised.
- Stick to the business etiquette.
Summing up all the above, we can highlight the three basic principles of business ethics: honesty, delicacy, and justice.
Preparing for Negotiations
Any negotiations require preparation, no it’s about signing a multi-million dollar contract or a job interview.
At first, ask yourself a question “What can make negotiations successful?” You know well the advantages and disadvantages of your product/service, but try to put yourself in the interlocutor’s shoes and understand what can make him interested.
There are three stages of the negotiations: a preparation that includes the establishment of contact, meeting planning, collecting information about a possible client/partner, creating presentations, etc., negotiations, and the development of the agreement.
What’s the most important? I believe that’s information gathering. You have studied the subject of negotiations carefully as you did choose it, but the task at this level is to find as much data on the negotiator as possible and identify common interests. In other words, you need to find common ground.
Knowing the interests and preferences of your counterpart, you’ll be able to choose the right time and place for a meeting. For example, in England, a representative of medium-sized businesses may prefer to negotiate in a pub – it is ok there!
The knowledge obtained as a result of preparing for negotiations may be useful in small talk, a short conversation that precedes the beginning of a dialogue on relevant issues.
In business communication, words are important, especially at first contacts. Avoid vagueness and ambiguity. Don’t underestimate small talk about the weather, sports, politics, latest trends in the field, etc.
For example, in Japan, small talk can last up to an hour, after which the meeting will be over with a proposal to discuss business matters another time! During small talk, Japanese try to determine the personal qualities of a potential partner.
At last, let’s review a few informational channels that can help you to make a mutually beneficial agreement:
- Personal interest in the results. If your proposal can positively resolve the issues or meet the needs of the interlocutor and the company as a whole, you’ll definitely be in demand. In the negotiations, each party has what the other might come in handy – capacity, resources, information, etc.
- Authority. The history of international relations knows many examples when a famous politician saved seemingly stalled negotiations between two countries.
- Politics. People use political levers on different levels. This or that political move may include consideration of personal interests, the use of authority, common values, etc. for the conviction.
- Rationality. Your proposal to sign a contract or buy the product should be based on a rational belief acceptable for all. Rational persuasion is an attempt to influence the mood and actions of the person using reasons or evidence substantiating the benefits of your offer.
- An appeal to objectives, values, and beliefs of the audience. Visual persuasion is based on arguments that mention the spiritual and human objectives of the party. Roughly speaking, the purpose of this method is to cause the listener to think like “Being an owner of this product, I’ll become a step closer to my ideal of a successful person.”
I wish you best of luck in your business endeavors!