On the surface, entrepreneurs are self-made bosses who answer to no one, make their own rules, and steer their ships under their own terms. But there is more to being an entrepreneur than what meets the eye. What’s not considered is that the only way an entrepreneur is successful is if they are able to communicate effectively.
As the sole operator of A Cupcake Brain, an online bakery that I established in 2011, communication is the most important aspect of everything that I do. In addition to running this business, working on another, and developing a non-profit organization, I am also hard of hearing. Due to my disability voice calling is a challenge for me. To compensate for my minor impairment I make myself available for all other forms of communication; text, email, Skype, and face to face meetings as well. I also keep records of conversations and agreements in writing and digital form to prevent issues between myself and clients.
The following steps are basic points to effectively communicate despite the medium. By keeping them in mind, you are likely to become a better communicator.
- Actively Listen – Active listening requires the patience to allow the person you are speaking with the opportunity to be heard. You must focus on their message and keep an open-minded attitude towards what the speaker has to say. By actively listening, you are not just hearing someone speak; you are engaging them and making their message your priority.
- Respond and Express Yourself in a Timely Manner – It’s very important to set aside time to respond to client communications. However, letting days pass before responding to a client will run the risk of losing that clients business or having them never to refer your services again. In your response it is important to learn when to give feedback and when to say no to unreasonable demands. Think of your message beforehand and ask yourself if it could offend the person you are speaking with.
- Body Language is Important- Non-verbal communication expresses what verbal communication won’t. Pay attention to the posture of the person you are speaking with. Are their arms folded? Are they looking you in the eyes while you speak? Do they look in your eyes while they speak? Do they seem relaxed, rushed, annoyed, or amused? There are certain tell-tale signs that will clue you in on how to proceed.
- Understanding perception – Step outside of yourself and see things from the perspective of the person you are talking to. Doing so will help you to cater a response or message specifically for them. If something is misinterpreted, that person can feel insulted even though this is not your intention. When we see things from the other person’s perspective before responding, our message will be more tailored, understanding, and better received.
- Find a Solution- Resolve conflicts by working with the involved party equally and earnestly. Sometimes in an argument, it is best to take a step back and reassess. When things reconvene, a resolution can be easier to reach.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of operating a successful business, no matter the industry. When your message is not expressed clearly or you do not put yourself in the shoes of the person you are addressing, you may insult the recipient and inevitably hurt your business.