5 Smart Ways for Managers to Improve Time Management

Time management is a skill that can elude many managers. As a manager you’re responsible for your own time and how those you supervise spend theirs. Finding time to accomplish everything that needs to be done sometimes may seem impossible.

But some simple shifts in thinking can help you get a handle on your time and use it more productively. Practicing the following techniques can help you begin mastering the elusive skill of time management.

Five Smart Tips for Time Management

1.   Organize Your To-Do List

Get your to-dos on paper. Keep a notepad or note-taking application handy to jot down everything you have to do as each occurs to you. Then, organize your to-dos by type and use a different paper or digital folder for each such as “follow up on” or “people to contact” or “to read”. Finally, schedule it. Put each item on your calendar. Commit the right amount of time on a specific day to each task and you’ll actually be able to check them off. Just make sure you’re not making lists instead of tackling other responsibilities.

2.   Attack One Type of Action at a Time

Flitting from making phone calls, to writing proposals, to answering emails is less than productive. Each type of action requires your brain to switch gears, stop, then start again on the new task. Try completing the same types of tasks before moving to the next. Make your phone calls, then answer emails, then write proposals. You’ll likely save time and increase your productivity.

3.   Eliminate Distractions

You probably won’t be able to eliminate all interruptions. People still need your time and attention through the day and you have to respond to a crisis or unexpected need for an immediate decision. But you can “train” others to give you the time you need to get your work done. Don’t hesitate to block out time not to be disturbed. Let your phone go to voice mail. Turn off your email notification and instant messaging. And unless you need to be on social media for your job, schedule a short block of time for social networks – and stay off them otherwise.

4.   Plan For – and Take – Breaks

It’s important to relax throughout your day. You’ll actually return recharged and more productive. Why not let that block of social media time become one of the day’s scheduled breaks?  And be flexible: you don’t need to handle each new task as it comes in. Save up several routine, non-deadline-driven items to tackle all at once and you’ll have more time to accomplish the big things.

5.   Communicate

It’s easy to let communication slide when you’re focusing on time management. But don’t forget to check in with others. Get in the habit of asking yourself if whatever you’re doing is the best use of your time. If not – shift to something else. Start recording your thoughts, conversations and activities so you can get an idea of exactly how much of your day you spend on each. Schedule time to communicate with others on high-priority tasks and projects.

It Is Possible to Learn Effective Time Management

As a manager you may face a heavier workload than ever with responsibilities increasing and deadlines growing shorter. It may seem working overtime is the only way to get everything done.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Getting the business management skills you need to be successful is a big part of being professional and effective. Education can provide the training and knowledge to manage time and other challenges more efficiently, decreasing your anxiety, fear of failure and stress. You can manage your time, become more productive and have more time away from work. It just takes a commitment to learning.

5 Tips To Create Effective Internal Communications With Your Team

5 Tips To Create Effective Internal Communications With Your Team

Effective communication between a company and its employees enables businesses to fully tap into the unique knowledge, insights, and talents of its people.

Often, the benefits stretch beyond pure profit. More open discussions help build a strong community within a firm, allowing workers to feel confident and happy, and to outperform expectations at their roles.

To develop a corporate culture that is forward-thinking in its approach, thanks to team members who regularly contribute superstar ideas, here’s how firms can improve internal communications.

1. Enable Company-Wide Conversations

In 2010, the National Federation of Independent Business published an article that listed five benefits of instant messaging for your business. Those include:

  1. Archived group and individual chat logs, which can be easily referenced at a later point
  2. Seamless collaboration with team members from off-site locations
  3. The ability to productively manage multiple conversations at once
  4. Opportunity to break down language barriers when text works better than voice
  5. Elimination of long-distance calling fees

The value is clear: you have to empower employees to communicate.

Create ways for employees to exchange ideas, information, and questions. Chat rooms and listservs work particularly well at company, department, and team levels. These empower people to seek answers from their peers, strengthen connections between colleagues, and transfer knowledge.

2. Improve Both Horizontal (Peer-To-Peer) And Vertical (Employee-To-Manager) Communications

To streamline internal communications, the right tools matter. Slack, HipChat and other Internet Relay Chat (IRC) services improve peer-to-peer communications–or horizontal communications. With programs that connect workers at all levels–or vertical communications–each individual is empowered with a voice on issues or topics that matter to him or her.

Collaboration solutions, such as the one we have built at Vocoli, allow executives to hear from employees to create transparency, harness the wisdom of the crowd, and track employee suggestions.

This makes owners and managers more accountable when team members invest time and energy into brainstorming ideas that could become very profitable for business, improve customer service, or increase tasks. Besides, many ideas can’t move forward without outside manager input. It is important that new concepts are not just discussed among peers. Management needs to be involved and feel connected to those suggestions from the very beginning. With their interest and influence, company leaders may help implement the best ideas.

3. Plan A Budget

For any internal communications program to be successful, corporate communications managers need resources. To establish a meaningful budget, organizations should evaluate and weigh the downsides of failing to invest in employees’ ability to build stronger relationships with each other, share concerns and constructive feedback, and discover information that helps them be better at their jobs.

Here are a few things to think about:

  • Recent costs of employee turnover
  • Customer loyalty and retention, and the effectiveness of your customer service team
  • Employee engagement and morale, or lack thereof
  • Missed opportunities, misunderstandings, and lost revenue because of miscommunication
  • Product or service quality and development

In addition, they should think honestly about the benefits and disadvantages of using existing systems for such programs.

The wooden suggestion box on the wall or web form on the company intranet you already have may not be enough. If people are not currently using those for employee suggestions, then it will be tough to get them to start, no matter how good your internal marketing plan is.

Investing in a new method for collecting and reviewing employee suggestions not only makes the logistics easier, but it also sends a powerful statement to employees–that you’re serious about hearing what they have to say.

4. Measuring The Effectiveness And Impact Of Internal Communications

Often, successful internal communications campaigns provide long-term returns that are orders of magnitude more than their cost.

When managers are tasked to demonstrate those results, here are three ways they review the effectiveness and impact of internal communications:

  • Analyze recent changes in productivity, sales, and profits
  • Conduct surveys on employee happiness and job fulfillment
  • Review latest staff retention rates

If the early results show promise, then management may be more accommodating whenever communication specialists suggest additional solutions that may further bolster the firm’s bottom line.

5. Leverage Leadership To Create Change

In most organizations, employees follow leadership’s example. To create change, executives, directors, and managers must be the champions of knowledge sharing, transparency, and worker engagement. Dedicated personnel may give advice and direction, such as internal communications managers. But senior execs, department directors, and team managers need to back them up. This has to be a collaborative effort.

When businesses build or license platforms to support company-wide conversations, employees inherently become better at their jobs. Upon improving horizontal and vertical communications, firms may receive more feedback from employees and will be tasked to execute new ideas. Creating an initial budget can be difficult, but it gets easier when organizations recognize there is more to lose by forgoing internal communications projects entirely.

Soon enough, the results, including improved worker performance, engagement and retention, will speak for themselves. But to ensure change takes place, management needs to participate and inspire the whole staff to do the same.

Communication Skills and Its Importance

Communication is the act of conveying meaningful information about a person/person, this can be vocally (using voice), written (using printed or digital media such as books, magazines, websites or emails), visually (using logos, maps, charts or graphs) or non-verbally (using body language, gestures and the tone and pitch of voice).

In today’s digital age, communication is easily done in several formats, but it’s also important to retain the ability to verbally communicate as well, we share our views and ideas with each other by communicating. Man is a social animal and thus needs the other person to express himself and to live an interactive life. How well this information can be conveyed and received is a measure of how good our communication skills are.

Developing these skills can help in all spheres of our life. Be it an interview or dealing with the project leader or working out a solution with a team or writing a report, getting across the point effectively is what matters. It’s never too late to work on communication and by doing so improve quality of life. Better communication helps in good performance in job.

Communication Skills and its Importance

Professionally, when we apply for jobs or look for promotion with the present employer, there will certainly be a need to demonstrate good communication skills. For example, the ability to: speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor language according to the audience, listen effectively so on and so forth. Many of these are important skills that employers seek.

Also it helps us in understanding others, not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their non verbal gestures and what their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being a successful communicator. For career growth, the importance of communication skills increases; the ability to speak, listen, question and write with clarity and conciseness are essential for most managers and leaders. Being able to communicate well with others is often essential to solving problems that inevitably occur both in our private and professional live The process of improving communication involves both how we send and receive messages.

Success in life

Both speaking and writing are reflections of our thoughts, experience, and education. Part of that combination is our level of experience that is listening to other speakers, reading documents and styles of writing and studying formats. It’s the effective communication skills which holds the key to success in many aspects of life. Acquiring and using the skills in the right way is all that matters to achieve our desired goal in life

Secrets of Effective Business Communication

The ability to communicate well is one of the biggest factors in the success of any business organization. You can be an excellent designer, but if you are unable to promote your services and communicate effectively with clients and colleagues, then your potential is limited.

The main areas where communication is essential are:

  • Attracting potential clients
  • Customer service
  • Client meetings

1. Attracting Potential Clients: When you own any business, your livelihood depends on your ability to sell your services. You have to convince prospects that you are the best person for the job, and the following communication secrets in this article will help you do this:

  • Always ask Right Questions: To sell the services, you have to understand the client’s unique needs. And this can be done only by asking questions that get to the heart of the challenges they are facing. Understanding the problems of the problems, you can pitch your services as the best possible option for the client.
  • Communicate Professionally: Your professionalism can win you contracts and your communication skills add to the complete package. Proofread all your emails prior to sending and always use a business email address with a proper signature. Always speak articulately and competently at all times.

2. Customer service: Your clients want to feel that they are your priority. And you can make them feel so by providing exemplary customer service. Use the following communication-focused actions to improve your customer service.

  • Address Problems: If a client is not happy, don’t ignore their complaints. Simply ask them why they are unhappy and what you can do to fix the situation. Your willingness to face the problem head-on tells the client that you care about the project and their satisfaction.
  • Ask for Feedback: One method of maintaining long-term relationships with your clients is by keeping open lines of communication. It means you should keep on asking them for their input on how things are going and how they feel about the service you are providing. This can be done by inquiring at the end of a project, or during day-to-day conversations or through formal surveys.

3. Clients Meetings: Client meetings are an integral part of every successful business. Try the following tips to make your meetings as productive as possible:

  • Schedule and Prepare thoroughly: Schedule your meetings in advance to ensures that you and your clients have an adequate amount of uninterrupted time to speak. Take time to prepare an agenda that outlines focus points and sets a structure. Also, sharing the agenda for the meeting gives both you and the client an opportunity to fully prepare.
  • Speak, Pause and Listen: When you have several topics to discuss, rushing through them to get all of your ideas out may be tempting. But, this can cause confusion and makes the client feel that their input is not important. So, Just slow down and remember that communication is a two-way street. Develop a give-and-take that allows both parties to have their say.

Improving your communication skills is worth the time and effort, but you will be surprised by how much you benefit from more polished and professional interaction.

What do you think? What impact communication had on your business success?

Future Communications of Mankind

Communication could be defined as passing information from one location to the other. We humans are good at communications because we developed a better tool than all other organisms on earth. That tool is language. We created languages. Languages are nothing more than organized signals of messaging. Animals use sound systems but they do not qualify as languages. They might be languages but they are very limited. Our communication skills got better because of the invention on languages.

In contrary to the communications, the information to be passed from location to location is always present. Just because we did not pass the information from one place to the other does not mean that the information is not there. Information and communication are interconnected but are two entirely separate entities. We should treat them separately in order to understand communication and its future.

After developing languages in the early history of humans, we made them organized with grammar. Languages did not have written forms in the beginning. Humans developed written forms of languages to better communicate without using sound. Letters were initially symbols and much more complicated. Unlike today’s letters the early day letters represented whole events or messages. Later on breakdown of such symbols resulted in letters to be used as syllables of sound. It is after the usage of symbols or letters to represent the syllables of sound that the language started to develop drastically.

We also needed to construct languages when we invented computers. We needed to pass the message to the computer and wanted the computer to pass messages to us. There are several computing languages that were created by humans. We do not have access to information that cannot be passed out through language.

For example, people say that they couldn’t explain a feeling with words. You might have heard people saying that words are not enough. It is not just an expression. It is real that our languages are not sufficient to communicate certain information. However, our communication skills and systems have enabled us reach higher achievements.

The future of the communications will need to make sure that all information could be communicated. The future of communications will definitely be influenced by technology. As we have now, there is information communication technology. This will breakdown in the following years into information technology and communication technology. As mentioned above, information and communication are two entirely different entities.

The information technology will focus mainly on gathering, storing and processing information. The communications technology will focus only on communicating. We are already at a point where these two are to be separated. Once these two fields are separated, the future of communications will begin.

After inventing languages, we started using tools to communicate. We still used languages but used tools to apply the language to communicate information. The pen and paper method was prevalent for centuries. Once we had invented electronic media, we had shifted towards the electronic media. The internet was one of the major developments in the communications history of mankind. We now communicate mostly through the internet. All our mobile phones work through a similar system as well.

The early day electronic communications required larger equipment and special locations. Now we have that communication in our pockets. The next step is to bring that communication system inside our physical body. There have been advances made in this direction so that we could one day have the communications system within our body.

Universities and research institutions have carried out experiments where people with disorders have voluntarily participated. The major theme in these experiments was to place a chip in the cortical column of the brain and act as an intermediate communicator between the brain and an assigned computer. The cortical column is a highly sophisticated and outermost layer of the brain where it is believed that our thoughts are processed. Scientists have figured out a way of accumulating the waves produced by our thoughts and translating them into a language that computers could understand. This has made it possible for computers to get commands directly from our brain. The experiments carried out so far had people moving curser pointers on computer screen with their thoughts. It had worked successfully. There have been records of people browsing the internet with their brain. There have been instances of people moving synthetic limbs thorough the same concept.

It is the current state of the future communications technology. This is called the Brain Computer Interface or BCI as abbreviation. BCI is a very advancing stream of science and is proving to be very successful. In BCI the human brain is only communicating with a computer. When this technology would enable people to communicate between people with the aid of computer chips implanted in their brains, then we will reach the future of communications.

There are two major concerns to achieving this state. The first concern is the ethics of placing a chip inside a human brain. There will always be people who support the idea and oppose the idea. If majority of the people didn’t want to do this, then it couldn’t be done. The second concern is to permanently placing such devices inside human brain. The permanent placement of such devices would require energy for them to run, clinical safety and the precision manufacturing. If such a device fails within the brain, replacement would require a surgery. No one will want to open up their skull just to recharge or repair the equipment.

Compared to what is expected in the future communications technology, the current BCI researches are still at their infancies. We will need these devices to be able to translate and then broadcast signals wirelessly. And the signal should be strong enough to be picked up by the signal transmission towers. To achieve this, the device will need much power like our phones. We should either place a battery that should power the device for a life time or should place a mechanism that will keep on charging the device. Placing a battery is not very practical based on our experiences on cell phones. Placing a mechanism is very possible.

Our body generates heat and this heat is transported by our blood stream. If the device could be assigned a mechanism through which the thermal energy could be transformed into electricity, then the power problem will be solved. There are such devices today. There are watches that function on body heat for example.

Producing signals is a concern. The emitted signal might damage the brain cells with radiation. The equipment will get heated with operation. No one would want to bake their brain inside out. We are still decades away from such a technology to exist but that is where we are headed.

Once this technology is in place, we will be able to communicate feelings with people but not by words. When we communicate to someone now, we only try to explain our feelings with words. That is why we say words are not enough. If the chips are capable of receiving our brain waves and communicating the same to another person, then the other person will receive exactly what we had in our mind. If you are sad or happy, the other person on the communication will feel exactly what you feel.

When we say that we are imagining something, we cannot explain our imagination to the fullest to someone. Once this technology is made available, we will be able to share our imaginations with others. We can record and preview our dreams. We can share dreams with others in real time. By the time the technology would reach such a point, we will have self driving vehicles. We will not need to drive. We will not need to press buttons on the car. We can communicate to the car with our mind and the car will take us where we want to go.

It is hard to fully imagine something before it ever existed. The future is not here yet. We can only predict and anticipate it. People can simply predict where the current technologies will take us in the future. If people are to anticipate, they will always want a better system than present. We are going to have a better communications system in the future than we can imagine now.

We all expect something better to happen in our lives. If we think about it cumulatively for humanity, then we need better lives for all. Below are some videos that will explain the advancement of communication technology. These are just the beginning. Later on, we will have even better systems.

Storytelling: An Emotional Connection to Your Audience

Do you remember how engaged and fascinated you were as a child when someone read or told you a bedtime story, or while listening to your teacher narrate a parable in school? Just as sitting around a campfire listening to stories can transport an individual to a different world with imagination, education, emotion or a cultural connection, narratives can take consumers to a place of reconnecting to their human needs.

Storytelling, the art of conveying events through imagery, words or sounds gives you an opportunity to connect, share and interpret compelling experiences in a unique way. The application of telling a personal or relevant story in relation to your platform still delivers a distinctive message about your brand, while it engages your listeners.

Gone are the days of high-pressure selling or selling through intimidation, which induces stress when the customer really isn’t set on buying. This antiquated strategy is such a huge turnoff, and it makes this practice extremely ineffective. Consumers are savvier about their buying choices. They will walk away from a deal faster than you can blink an eye, especially if the product does not coincide with their lifestyle or is not cost-effective.

Marketers are discovering that when conveying their messages to consumers, storytelling is no longer done for entertainment purposes, but serves a greater purpose in marketing and sales strategies. Clients are looking for narratives that can illustrate how to add value to their lives and lifestyles, before making a purchasing decision. Influencing the decision of buyers, regardless of the industry, has to make good common sense and cannot smell of manipulative selling practices.

When examining many current advertisements, there are several elements included in their cultural landscape that potential consumers can relate to. Marketers are connecting to clients more intimately through emotional storytelling or commentaries. We don’t consciously detect how subliminal advertising stimulates our senses and thought process, but it is how consumers respond to products and services through our social connection that matters. Storytelling transforms the way an audience listens, retains and engages with the storyline.

What is the fundamental nature of your story? The law of relativity isn’t just applicable to the theory of gravitation and velocity in physics. It is a contextual variable that offers consumers the ability to relate to and purchase what you are offering, if it meets their needs through a genuine emotional connection.

Silent Behavior Modification

When one thinks of sign language, he or she may think it is a language utilized only by the deaf or hard of hearing. Previously, parents had to wait until their child’s vocal chords developed in order to understand their needs and wants. Sign language enables children to communicate at a much earlier stage of development. With a recent newfound interest in the language, one must ask why it isn’t being utilized as a teaching strategy to help in the classroom?

Often times, a staff’s biggest challenge is student’s behavior throughout the day. Creativity can often be seen being replaced by a teacher who raises her volume to grab the attention of her stimulated students. As educator’s it is imperative that creative and new means are utilized in order to help ensure an environment that enables the children to thrive.

Sign language allows a teacher to accomplish this goal while engaging the children and teaching them something new and challenging. The first step is to introduce the language into the classroom. Whether it is through a hired staff member, or the teachers themselves taking the initiative to learn some of the basic signs and then pass the knowledge along. This can be done by going online. There are great websites available, where signs are modeled making it simple for everyone to learn, and words can be looked up the same as they would in a dictionary.

Students will enjoy being assigned animals. Allow the children to pick the animal they wish to be, or help them to establish a “sign name”. After this is done, help the children to practice and learn their new classmates sign. Another important sign is restroom. How many times is a teacher interrupted by the shouting of “Can I go to the potty”? Instead, the children can use their new language to ask to use the restroom, and the teacher can acknowledge giving permission without missing a beat. Another perk, are the signs stop and please.

Throughout the day re-direction is ongoing. Often times a teacher can grow weary of asking a child to discontinue with an action. Signing stop please or asking the child to move to another area, as well as, a quiet transition can be a nice change to what is often an over stimulated and non-responsive environment. Creativity in implementing this knowledge is imperative. If used and taught properly, one will quickly find that the need for the term to “use an inside voice” will soon disappear. It does not happen overnight, and each group of students brings a different dynamic to the table, but with time, patience, and perseverance this language opens a vast horizon of changing the atmosphere in one’s classroom.

Communication: The Process and Forms

Communication is the process by which people exchange information or express their thoughts and feelings. Communication is defined as the transmission of information from a source to a receiver. Communication involves five basic elements. These are the sender, channel, message, receiver, and feedback.

-SENDER

This is also referred to as the source or who or where the message is coming from. Communication skill of the sender is his/her ability to encode or convert the content or message into appropriate modes or signals. This includes the ability to write, speak and reason.

-CHANNEL

This is the means through which the message encoded by the sender is sent to the receiver. It is also referred to as Signal. This signal or channel changes the message into a form that can be heard, seen, touched, tasted or smelt by the receiver. The popular channel is the media through sound waves (radio) etc.

MESSAGE

Message simply refers to the main information that the sender or source has for the receiver. Message in communication is described in terms of code, content, elements, treatment, and structure. It may be words, letters, or symbols used for presenting or recording information.

-RECEIVER

This is the one who receives the message sent by the source or sender. Communication skill of the receiver is his/her ability to decode or interpret the message or signal delivered by the source into cognitive schemata (knowledge). Receivers should develop decoding skills of reading, listening and understanding the structured message or signals delivered by the sender or source.

-FEEDBACK

This refers to the receiver’s response to the message sent by the sender. Feedback helps the sender to ascertain whether the message sent was successfully understood by the receiver(s).

Let’s use this scenario to illustrate the five elements of communication. Prof. Ablade Glover wants a Sales Girl for his Art Gallery. He put up an advert in the media stating the requirements. He receives some applications; shortlisted a few, interviewed them and employed two of the applicants.

Sender – Prof. Ablade Glover
Channel – The Media
Message – Vacancy for a Sales Girl
Receiver – The public
Feedback – The Response/Applications received

Communication Technology refers to the tools, materials, and processes that people use to enhance their abilities to communicate. These include books, radio, computer etc. On the other hand, communication system is the sum of all the tools, materials and processes through which a sender sends a message and a receiver returns feedback. There are several types of communication systems.

Communication basically utilizes two of our senses. These are the sense of sight (eye) and the sense of hearing (ears). There are four main categories of communication systems. These are visual communication system, audio communication system, audiovisual communication system and the computer based communication system.

i. Visual Communication systems

It is based on the sense of sight (eye). Thoughts and ideas are created in visual forms, e.g. text and images such as billboards, magazines, posters, collage, photograph, newspaper, etc.

ii. Audio Communication systems

It is based on the sense of hearing (ears). The message is sent through sound waves to receivers. Examples are radios, telephones, mobile phones, etc.

iii. Audiovisual Communication systems

It combines visual and audio messages and communicates them to receivers. Audiovisual messages are received by watching and listening. Examples include television, motion pictures, DVD, EVD, etc.

iv. Computer-based Communication systems

It uses computer assisted software programs and various social communication network systems to communicate information or messages to receivers. Examples include Face book, Twitter, Skype, computer-based interactive video etc.

How to Best Communicate Online

When you’re speaking to someone face to face, it’s easy to understand what they’re saying. After all, we don’t only speak with our mouths; we actually communicate using our bodies too. When face to face, you can read someone’s hand gestures, body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. All of this makes it very easy to understand what the person is saying.

Online it’s a whole different ballgame. When you’re communicating with someone via email, forums or even webcasts it’s not always so easy. You can’t after all read any of the above mentioned expressions.

However, by following a few simple rules you can make communicating on the net a whole lot easier.

  • Write clearly. It’s often difficult to write down what is actually quite easy to say. But writing in a long-winded way can be confusing to the reader. Instead, think about what you mean to say and write in short, clear sentences. Sentences dotted with punctuation can be read in a variety of ways and may confuse the reader – again, stick to short, clear sentences.

It also helps to close your message with a little humor or other “nicety.” This will help stop your overall message from appearing dry. It’s very easy for people to confuse direct and to the point with brashness when reading.

  • Learn netiquette. Online there are different rules of politeness. Did you know that writing in all capitals means your shouting? This is an easy mistake for a novice to make and one you’ll want to avoid.

Also, using too many exclamation marks can make your message appear irrational or a bit over the top, too. And on the other hand, very overly direct sentences without the use of humor may appear harsh or unemotional. Try to strike the balance between using expressive punctuation like exclamation marks and not using them at all.You can also use emoticons online to express how you’re feeling – a happy face at the end of a direct message can make a big difference to the overall impression of the reader. However, if you’re writing in a more professional manner or would like your message to be taken seriously, too many emoticons, such as happy faces, may make you appear unprofessional or someone not to be taken seriously. Again, it’s all about striking the right balance.

  • Explain yourself. Particularly when dealing with colleagues and subcontractors it’s important for them to know right from the start that when you’re writing a business message you may do so in a very direct way. Ask them not to take it to mean anything other than what is written on the message.

This is a particularly effective strategy when dealing with virtual helpers such as writers or VAs. You simply may not have time to include a chatty message with each and every email. Explain that your direct messages don’t mean that you’re upset or anything – you’re just communicating about the job at hand.These three rules will hopefully help you avoid many pitfalls of online communication. It also helps to keep in mind that sometimes you may read a message differently to what the writer intended. It’s always best to approach these situations with caution by simply asking the writer to please explain what they meant. The worst thing to do would be to go in all guns blazing and then realizing that you actually misunderstood their message – oops.

The Role of Effective Communication Skills in Your Professional Life

Think “Communication Skills” and all our thoughts focus towards speaking and language skills, academically related and mostly used in our personal lives. More than often, we ignore its value and importance in our profession and at our workplace. We all have to communicate with our peers, subordinates, seniors, internal and external customers, which makes effective communication skills a must-have.

The following are the most essential skills one should master in order to become a skilled communicator and use it to climb up the ladder of personal and professional success:

Listening skills: This skill ranks topmost in the list as the ability to listen, understand and reciprocate to other’s views, considered to be quite an essential one in the corporate world. Listening shows that the other person’s opinion are important and you are willing to consider them, while being open to new concepts and ideas. While speaking, an active listener will always pause for the audience’s response, repeat it and also ask questions that confirms their involvement in the ongoing conversation.

Verbal Skills: This is a skill that helps us to navigate our way through daily meetings, one to one discussions and brainstorming sessions. Clear and articulate speakers are usually the most effective as they reflects their uncluttered thoughts and leave no ambiguity in the listeners’ mind. Since attention spans are becoming shorter, it is always a good idea to put one’s thoughts in a clear and concise manner, focusing on the most vital segments of the conversation. While undergoing training on communication skills, a lot of emphasis is given to the development of verbal skills that engage others and help reaching a mutual consensus.

Written Skills: Modern businesses are heavily dependent on email communication, presentations and social media. Writing clear and accurate emails is surely a great skill all employees should possess, irrespective of the business function one is associated with. You should be able to focus on the important points without rambling and using unnecessary words or repeating them. It is also important to use an appropriate tone without getting too casual as this could ruin a perfectly good business association with a potential customer.

Good written skills include proper follow-ups and closing of the communication loop, the latter being considered a valuable asset in the world of cluttered electronic mail. This skill takes up a large portion of any communication training module.

Interpersonal Communication skills: Success at building strong interpersonal relationship through effective communication is an extremely valuable asset for any individual aspiring to make it to the top. Interpersonal skills helps one to communicate not only at the business level but at a personal level too, thus taking the relationship a notch higher. It is useful in building bonds and helps employees to find common ground.

Presentation skills: The day of a busy corporate executive is filled with meetings, video conferences and of course, presentations. It could be a presentation of ideas, information or product details, either to an internal team or to a potential customer. A good presenter uses anecdotes, stories and references to make a presentation impactful and moving. The entire focus is on getting a desired outcome by influencing the audience in a positive manner and is a part of effective communication skills. Eye contact with the audience, a relaxed attitude and a dash of humor are all important ingredients of a memorable presentation.