There are countless things that go into a successful business, and one of them is good communication skills. Refined communication skills can make your peers and colleagues more friendly and receptive, inspire stakeholders to have more faith in you, and generally raise your value as a professional. Like many aspiring entrepreneurs, you may feel that your communication skills could do with some work. Here are some of the best ways to work on them.

More collaboration, less dictation

Okay, so you’re the founder and CEO of your business. However, drawn-out lectures, monologues, and management talk that’s empty of substance shouldn’t really be dominant features in business communication.

Unless you’re leading a presentation or making a big announcement, try to be less of an orator, and more of a collaborator. Try to limit your talking to only a few moments, keeping it as simple and clear as possible. Think of yourself as part of a larger team, rather than the leader, and make sure you’re giving just as much value to what other people are saying.

Talk to any business communication training professional, and they’re sure to emphasize the point that good communication is about give and take, and should never be a one-way street. If you find you’re dictating too much and not taking other people’s ideas on board, make a point to be a little more collaborative.

Don’t put off sensitive issues too much

No business performs and progresses exactly as the owner wants it to, and there are going to be various points where you run into problems and obstacles which need to be addressed. If you know there’s going to be some rough weather ahead that’s going to affect everyone in the organization, then the worst thing you can do is keep quiet about it, allowing it to fester and build up over time.

If you were an employee, and got called into a meeting out of the blue where your manager said you were being made redundant as of next month, I’m sure you wouldn’t think too highly of the higher-ups at your organisation.

On the other hand, if they had told you there were going to be cuts well in advance, you’d appreciate how open they were being about the issues that matter most. Make some changes to keep everyone more informed, and make sure you’re not putting sensitive issues off for too long.

Tailor your message to the right audience

The best business and life communicators adjust how they talk based on whom they’re speaking to; you’d probably use a different style of communication with co-workers or your superior at work compared to when you’re speaking with your significant other, kids, or friends. The right tone and format should always be used at the right time.

Developing empathy helps you better understand even the unspoken parts of your communication with others, and helps you respond more effectively.

Invest in the right tools

Though they’re certainly not everything, the tools you use for communication and collaboration at your business are going to have a huge effect on how your professional communication skills develop.

For example, if you’re using social media and email for the bulk of your business communications, then everyone’s going to be receiving a lot of redundant or otherwise useless information which will only get in the way of your more important conversations.

Using a collaborative tool, on the other hand, will make it easier for you to streamline your business communications, collaborate on any important projects, and foster more meaningful relationships.