I recently met a female entrepreneur in my community. We chatted at the gas pump and suddenly she asked me “Are you a small business owner”? I responded yes and she started asking me what I do. I froze! Started spluttering and muttered something incoherent. We exchanged business cards, but I felt my business communication was ineffective to say the least.
Many women struggle to communicate effectively as entrepreneurs. They want to please everyone or they try too hard to impress others. The result is their business communications are unclear or cause clients to run over them.
We all freeze at times, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Take control with these quick and easy ways to improve your communications.
Keep Writing Concise
If you’re sending an email to a client, keep it as short and easy to read as possible. Would you really want to read a five-page email? Instead, use short sentences and paragraphs. Get to your point quickly. This saves the recipient time and increases the chances of your messages being read and responded to.
Pay Attention To Grammar
You’re a busy woman, but that doesn’t mean you get to slack off in the grammar department. Your written words represent you just as much as your verbal ones. Make yourself sound professional by properly capitalizing words and ensuring words are spelled correctly.
Even if a customer or client is wrong, don’t interrupt them. Wait until they’re finished speaking and then explain yourself again in a different way. This helps you avoid being rude and you still get your point across. Being respectful improves a person’s opinion of you.
Pay Attention To Body Language
It’s easy to figure out how your client or employee is feeling about your words simply by observing their body language. Are they breathing faster? This could mean they’re excited or angry. Is their stance relaxed or rigid? A relaxed stance means they’re warming up to you. Observe body language and adjust your tone and approach accordingly.
Inject Some Personality
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Rather it’s written or verbal communications, be yourself. You’ll be more relaxed when you communicate if you’re not trying to watch every single word. Just remember to avoid anything offensive and try to be friendly.
Discover How Others Communicate
Women are usually more sensitive to how others prefer to communicate. In the book Body Language in Business the authors state:
It has been suggested that women are more intuitive than men, that they are better readers of nonverbal signals, and as a consequence, are more skillful senders of body cues.
Take advantage of this. For instance, a woman might notice a client doesn’t quite understand a verbal pitch and will instead try another communication method such as a written or image based pitch.
Everyone has their own preferred way of communicating. Women who are able to recognize the style and use it with the right clients will have far more success than other entrepreneurs. This method makes clients feel comfortable and happy.
Learn From Others
If your communication skills seem to be falling flat, look to women you admire. How do they communicate? Watch their body language, listen to the tone of voice and notice how they adapt calmly and quickly to any client or employee. Practice with friends and family. If possible, work one on one with your mentor. It’ll help you become a much better communicator.