The 7 power skills of business communication
Learn these to advance your career
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There’s a new trend in the business world.
“Soft skills” are now being called “power skills.”
It’s a more apt description.
Anyone who’s worked in a professional environment (likely all of us) knows “soft skills” are the hard skills.
One of the core “power skills” is communication.
No matter what you do professionally, you need communication skills to succeed.
So, let’s go through the 7 power skills of communication specifically.
Think of these as the foundation of good business writing, but they apply to communication broadly.
1. Be clear
This is the “Golden Rule” of business communication.
It must be clear.
If your message can’t be easily understood, it will not be effective.
The best way to clarify your communication is to make it simple.
Simple terms, simple sentences, simple delivery.
This is especially important if you’re writing or speaking about a technical subject.
Helpful Resource: 7 tips for clear writing
2. Be concise
Get to the point.
Long-winded communication confuses and loses people.
Remember: most people comprehend at a middle school level.
And that’s when they’re reading (and thus have the advantage of re-reading material).
It may be even lower when you’re speaking and they have only one shot to hear your message.
Brevity is powerful. It saves time for your audience and helps ensure your message lands clearly.
Avoid using unnecessary words and filler language (”I think that the main thing is …”).
Helpful Resource: How to speak more concisely
3. Be specific
Business communication must be specific.
Specificity eliminates ambiguity.
It demonstrates authority and mastery.
It provides important context for decision-making.
One of the best ways to make your writing and communication more specific: replace adjectives with data.
“huge growth” —> 45% growth
“drastic decline” —> 30% decline
“fantastic results” —> $450k in sales
Helpful Resource: How to be specific
4. Be accurate
Few things erode trust in your communication as fast as simple errors.
It’s important to be accurate.
Your facts are correct
Your grammar is correct
Your writing is free of errors
Will you sometimes have a typo or make a mistake?
Yes. It happens and isn’t the end of the world.
That said, consistent inaccuracies shows a lack of detail, professionalism and care for your work.
Take the time to research, review and verify your work.
Helpful Resource: How to ensure technical accuracy
5. Be organized
Well-organized communication has a clear structure and uses formatting to make it easier to consume.
If you’re writing, use things like:
Numbers and titles
Bold and italics
If you’re speaking, use frameworks like the PREP framework.
Those are a few formatting options you can use to help with organization.
Organization helps the audience quickly understand your main ideas and follow along.
Helpful Resource: 5 ways to organize your writing
6. Be responsive
A popular productivity tip is to check email or texts 1-2x per day.
I’d agree this is probably a smart approach as opposed to living in your inbox throughout the day.
(Now here comes a big caveat …)
That said, responsiveness matters.
Timely communication stands out.
It builds trust, confidence and credibility.
Responsiveness makes people feel like you’re “on top of it.”
Make it a habit to respond to people quickly and acknowledge their message.
You don’t necessarily have to address it at that time, but your responsiveness will be appreciated and noticed.
Helpful Resource: Responsive communication in the workplace
7. Be professional
One of my mentors used to say: “You never win an argument with a customer.”
I don’t believe “the customer is always right,” but they should never feel wrong.
Control your emotions.
Listen and ask questions.
Demonstrate you understand.
When others lose their cool, maintain yours.
Professionalism will never go out of style.
Helpful Resource: A guide to professionalism in the workplace
To recap, the 7 power skills of business communication:
Build these and they will change your career.
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