You can communicate with your professional peers effectively by learning essential business communication skills. Even veteran businesspeople can have difficulty speaking in front of groups or meeting with their peers. By developing business communications skills and understanding verbal and nonverbal communication, however, you can overcome your anxiety about speaking in public.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, business communication is becoming increasingly important to this demographic. It’s also essential that young professionals understand the roles that emotional intelligence and capable communication play in expressing important professional concepts. Even after mastering these necessary business communication skills, you must commit to honing your skills as well as learning new ones.

The following are 10 practical strategies that you can use to develop effective business communication skills.

5 Strategies for Developing Nonverbal Business Communication Skills

1. Shake Hands Like You Mean It

An appropriately firm handshake helps you to appear approachable, confident and outgoing. With a firm handshake, you can project your confidence and transfer that confidence to your peers.

2. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face

It’s not a good idea to touch your face when talking to superiors or coworkers. It’s distracting, and it makes you look nervous.

3. Busy Legs Are for the Dance Floor, Not the Office

If you want to move your feet to the beat on the dance floor, that’s fine, but excessive leg movement doesn’t go well with professional communication. This is another telltale sign that you’re nervous, stressed and lack confidence.

4. Don’t Hide Behind Your Extremities

It’s intuitive to embrace yourself when you feel unsure. However, it’s not practical if you want people to take you seriously when you talk business.

5. You’re Having a Conversation, Not Directing Traffic

Yes. Your hands are a part of the conversation, but they shouldn’t steal the show. Ideally, you want your hand movements to match the intensity of your conversation.

5 Strategies for Developing Verbal Business Communication Skills

1. Say It Like You Mean It – Stay Engaged

Nothing’s worse than getting caught in a work conversation when you know the person is talking at you, rather than with you. Eye contact makes you look engaged, but your tone of voice will send a deeper message.

2. Ask, Repeat, Then Do It Again

You should apply this formula to any important conversation. First, ask for clarification, then repeat what you just heard in the form of a question. Repeat this process for each talking point.

3. Make Time for Face Time

In an increasingly digital world, it’s easy to lean on technology all the time. For this reason, face-to-face meetings have much more impact in today’s tech-fueled world.

4. Begin and End With Points That Matter

If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get there. Before you begin any professional communication, know precisely what it is you’re trying to express.

5. It’s Not a Joke – Go for Respect, Not for Laughs

When you feel pressured, it’s intuitive to want to hear someone laugh. However, this is a tactic that can set you up for failure from the start. If you use laughter to get across an important point, it’s unlikely that your peers will take you seriously. 

The Key to Effective Communication – Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) isn’t about optimism, confidence or motivation. However, this is typically what people think of when they hear the term. By understanding the signals that emotions portray about relationships, you can manage your own feelings as well as that of your professional peers.

In 1990, psychology professor John D. Mayer along with Professor Peter Solvey coined the term emotional intelligence. The educators developed the term to describe the ability to perceive your own emotions as well as those of others.

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence empowers you with self-awareness. It gives you the ability to understand your feelings, which is a crucial aspect of EI.

EI enables you to display the kind of motivation that shows your peers that you care about more than money. It also allows you to express empathy and understand people on an intimate level. More importantly, emotional intelligence adds to the repertoire of your social skills and helps you nurture, build and maintain long-term professional relationships.

By practising practical business communication skills and learning emotional intelligence, you can bolster your executive toolkit. It’s essential, however, not to be afraid to make mistakes along the way. If you don’t make mistakes, you can’t learn anything.

As members of Gen Z climb the corporate ladder, they will increasingly develop a desire to improve their professional communication skills. By doing so, they’ll develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their professional peers.

Emotional intelligence will help you communicate effectively throughout your career. It will take some work to get the hang of it, but it will definitely be worth the effort.

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Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.