Business settings can entail many things. They can be internal meetings, client presentations, trade conferences or networking events. Regardless, there are three key parts to communicating effectively in any business environment. Being proficient in these three areas will help showcase your professionalism and make you more successful.
1) Speech delivery – often times it’s not about what you say but how you say it. People will evaluate you based on your delivery more than the words you actually say. That means you need to focus on:
- Having a consistent tone of voice and not one that fluctuates wildly
- Focusing on eliminating interrupting fillers (e.g. ums, ahs, you knows, likes)
- Being very articulate and completely cutting out any mumbling
- Talking fluidly and being cognizant of the pace of your speech – slow enough to be coherent, but quick enough to be engaging
- Reducing any noise distractions like hard coughing, loud sneezes, throat clears and deep breaths
2) Speech content – as long as you come across sounding professional, the words you say will have a significant impact on the impression you make. Make sure you are prepared for any setting you’re in – even if it’s a one-on-one with an intern. The more knowledge you have about the subject material in advance, the more you can drive value and impress your audience.
3) Facial expressions and body language – being self-aware of your body language is critical to any professional interaction you have. You can give a lot away through your body language without saying a word. You need to recognize good habits and emphasize them, and then recognize and eliminate bad habits. If you’re eye contact is sometimes good but sometimes not strong, then you need to focus on always looking in the eye the person you’re talking to. If you sometimes slouch but your posture is generally okay, then you need to focus on always having a straight back while sitting and standing. If you sometimes put your hand on your cheek when you’re tired in a meeting, then you need to recognize this and stop the habit. If you find yourself tapping your fingers on the table during a meeting, then you need to recognize this and understand that this signals boredom and disrespect.
Put together, improving in all of these areas will help make you more professional.