Even before the COVID pandemic, business communications were trending more towards email and other digital communication (Zoom, Google Meetings). When the coronavirus resulted in many businesses having to resort to remote work, that trend increased even more. It was vital to help your team strengthen their business skills.
Education has also been becoming increasingly remote, and even social interactions are as common in the digital world as they are in the face-to-face one with so many social media outlets in existence. With all these factors in mind, interpersonal communication has naturally taken a big hit for the business world.
On the bright side, those individuals who do possess the social skill set to engage people and direct in-person conversations stand out to employers and potential business partners more than ever. Whether it be for self-development or team development, these 4 tips will hone your business skills and help you and your team stand out.
Encourage and Enable Entrepreneurial Mindsets
Though there is certainly a demographic of employees who like to be told exactly what to do, a majority of employees do not like to be micromanaged and prefer to be left to do the job they are being paid to perform. When these types of employees are given the proverbial “slack in the leash” they need to perform their duties without someone over their shoulder, they perform at higher levels.
Encouraging your employees to speak their minds and share their opinions related to their jobs naturally allows them to form business skills, as they need them to get their points across. Listening to them and constructively sharing ways to improve their communication during idea pitches leads to better communications with potential clients and customers.
Set Up Employees for Leadership Opportunities
Allowing anyone and everyone to lead in some aspect is another way for business communications to naturally grow. Many shy individuals are happy to fall in line, but creating scenarios where everyone needs to lead allows these shy individuals to showcase their leadership skills and ideas that may have otherwise been shaded simply due to their nonchalance related to sharing opinions. Leadership opportunities allow for both “old school” and modern professional skills to be honed, as they require interaction with all demographics a given office has.
One of the most mindless and hands-off approaches to honing your team’s business skills is by hiring a 3rd-party contractor to do the training for you. Corporate training has evolved rapidly in the past decade, and the days of click-through PowerPoints are being replaced with legitimate, immersive training given by individuals whose entire livelihood is providing training to corporate teams.
Depending on the size of your team, these can be auditorium-style training or small groups, and topics covered by these services are virtually endless, including in-office communications, external communications, global communications, and relative focuses such as implicit bias and inclusion that make colleagues and clients more comfortable.
For many reasons, most relative to technology and of no fault of their own, the younger generations tend to lack these business skills the most. With this in mind, encouraging and even requiring younger employees to spend a couple of hours per week with an industry veteran on your team has many advantages, with business skill development being one of the most prominent. If finances allow, another way to help your team is to make sure paid mentorship opportunities also exist where industry experts can be hired to share their knowledge and experiences with members of your team.
In-person communications are, indeed, great ways to set yourself apart from the competition, but digital communications are still the primary means of communication and will only continue to be preferred by more and more individuals. As important as honing these in-person skills is, digital communications need to be constantly refined, but these tips are relevant to digital communications as well!
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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.