Maybe you’re not a “people” person. Maybe you went into business for yourself so you no longer had to take orders from others. Maybe you just don’t enjoy collaborating with co-workers. All of those are noble reasons to strike out on your own. But even as your own boss, one of the most important skills you must remember is communication.
Sure, we live in an incredibly tech-savvy age where almost anything that formerly needed to be said face to face can now be tweeted, texted, instant messaged, SnapChatted or Facebooked. However, it’s extremely important to remember that it can be pretty challenging to deliver over social media or email, the kind of message and tone you want to convey.
How many times have you texted your significant other to “Pick up milk” only to get a reply 20 minutes later asking, “Are you mad at me?”? All because the tone that was conveyed through the message meant one thing to you and an entirely different thing to your spouse. Imagine you’re trying to seal a deal with an important potential client. Being able to speak face to face and communicate what you are after is key.
Let’s pretend you have an employee or two in your business. Even if they work remotely, you still need to communicate effectively with them in order to foster a good working relationship. The Balance offers some helpful tips in Alison Doyle’s article, “Top 10 Communication Skills for Workplace Success”:
Useful communication skills for building positive interpersonal relationships include:
- active listening
- understanding non-verbal signals
- being clear and concise
- using a friendly tone, smiling, asking a personal question
- being confident
- understanding and respecting other points of view
- being open-minded
- being respectful
- giving and receiving feedback
Now imagine how difficult accomplishing each one of those bullet points would be via social media or text or even on the phone. Even if you don’t feel the need to socialize at networking events or host that dreaded office holiday party, if you’re unable to express yourself and your expectations clearly, it can affect your staff’s productivity or ability to produce what you’re looking for. Clients will appreciate the professionalism of being able to communicate with you and your staff will likely have higher morale and efficiency.
So, take the extra effort and learn how to communicate effectively. It’s a win-win for everyone. Even your spouse. And if you need a space to communicate, let us know!