Strategic Business Communications | 4 mins read

Strategic Business Communications in the Workplace

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Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

How to Be Strategic with Business Communication

Strategic communication encompasses several communication-related industries such as marketing and public relations. Within these industries, there are a set of specific skills that are used to achieve business success and maintain a competitive edge.

Other non-communication -related industries still employ communication strategies to optimize their internal relationships, improve advertising campaigns, and create better processes. Each message is targeted with a particular recipient in mind to help align a company's communication objectives with its internal goals. That is the basis for strategic communication.

Strategic business communication is critical for several reasons. Because communication is the backbone that holds an organization together, poor communication hurts everything and everyone. It hurts sales, customer service, employee engagement, manager morale, and more. There must be some type of strategy in place to improve communication in each sector of a company. Better communications equal higher sales, happier customers, and less confusion.

So, how can an organization be strategic with its business communication? Here are some best practices.

1. Strategic Business Communications Be Clear

Whether it's written communication, phone calls, emails, or in-person conversations, all communications should be clear and concise. The speaker should include an open, a body, and close within each message, and state the goal at the beginning of the discussion. In doing so, the recipient is more likely to listen and understand what's being said. Examples of how to introduce a topic include, I'm asking you to come in because we need to discuss this project. or This email is to confirm next week's meeting.

  • Always know the "why" of the conversation. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • Communicate emotions in-person rather than through email or text
  • Communicate facts via email or other written communications
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Simplify messages to make them more understandable

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2. Strategic Business Communications Avoid Sweeping Statements

It's best to avoid generalizations or absolutes during a discussion. If the speaker is irritated, it's not a good idea to make accusations. Accusations only make the recipient angry and defensive, which eliminates the opportunity for a fruitful conversation. It's also optimal to avoid exaggerating when frustrated. For example, if a subordinate has been late once or twice there's no reason to claim he/she was late 10 times. These types of exaggerations and accusations will only lead to further conflict and will not resolve the initial problem.

3. Strategic Business Communications Practice Active Listening

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A great communication skill is active listening. Active listening requires one to hone in on non-verbal clues. For example, nodding one's head demonstrates that an individual understands another person's message. Leaning forward and using good eye contact are other ways to convey one comprehends a point. If a speaker scrutinizes someone, the other person should avoid thinking of an immediate rebuttal. It's best to hear the other person out first to get a clear picture of that perspective.

  • People spend about 80% of their day engaged in active conversation, but only 55% of their time is spent listening
  • Active listening is linked to deeper relationships, higher productivity, and self-empowerment
  • Only 10% of people are considered good listeners
  • Most people only retain 50% or less of a conversation

4. Strategic Business Communications Avoid Speaking for Others

Speakers should always use the first person during all business communications. Discussing feelings and opinions is less effective than speaking in facts and figures. It's always better to focus on how someone else's mistake impacts others, rather than focus on the person who made the mistake. This strategy prevents the speaker from talking for others and making another individual feel attacked.

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5. Strategic Business Communications Ask Questions

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The audience should always make sure to ask questions if they don't understand everything the speaker says. Asking questions is also important to reiterate the main points and ensure everything critical is covered. Effective leaders should also ask their employees questions during meetings or strategy sessions. It's important to receive employee feedback and encourage workers to speak their minds in a comfortable setting. This will help managers perform their jobs more effectively moving forward.

  • Be curious and take advice seriously
  • Be open-ended by asking questions that draw out more details
  • Be engaged to show that you care
  • Dig deeper and don't assume that everything is o.k. Find out the totality of the situation to discern whether there are anymore bottlenecks to solve

6. Strategic Business Communications Offer Your Point of View

It's critical to add a personal perspective to a message, even if it's just momentarily. This allows the recipient to connect to the message more because it's more relatable. When speakers share their perspectives, they should be as concise and clear as possible. They should begin by pointing out to the recipient any areas of agreement. This will help build up a relationship with the recipient and create a communication bond. Any points of disagreement should be shared politely and respectfully.

Key Takeaways of Strategic Business Communications

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In conclusion, here are the top elements of strategic business communication -

  • Strategic business communication should be clear and should avoid accusations. Speakers should always utilize concise language and avoid sweeping statements that put the recipient on the defensive.
  • Strategic business communications should require the speaker and audience to practice active listening. Active listening ensures everyone knows what actions to take and also helps to understand the other person's perspective.
  • Strategic business communications should require the speaker not to speak for other people. This will avoid putting the other person on the defensive, or putting words/actions in his/her mouth.
  • Strategic business communications should require asking questions and offering one's perspective. Asking questions is critical to fully understand what the recipient needs to do. Offering a perspective will create a bond between speaker and recipient that will make collaboration much easier.

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