Have you ever finished a client meeting not overly confident that things will proceed? Sure, you verbalised the information and advice, and the people across the desk nodded and assured you they understood but something just didn’t feel right.
Outside, the clients (or prospects) are probably thinking or saying – “I heard what they said but I just don’t know ….”.
And it could be because of ineffective communication.
What Is Effective Communication?
Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It's about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.
As well as being able to clearly convey a message, you also need to question and listen to confirm what's being received and to make the other person feel heard and understood.
Effective communication is the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose.
When we communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied.
Effective communication requires a diverse skillset that covers both verbal and non-verbal communication cues, as well as active listening.
Why Is Effective Communication Important?
There are many communication barriers, and these may occur at any stage in the communication process. Barriers may lead to your message becoming distorted and result in wasted time and/or money through confusion and misunderstanding.
Effective communication involves overcoming these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.
Effective communication is vital as it allows you to translate your intentions and feelings into easily understandable messages.
Effective communication makes you a more productive finance broker and cuts down on unintended consequences that arise because of miscommunication.
Developing an effective communication process helps you understand what others are saying and makes you a better adviser.
Effective Communication Skills
Developing better communication habits requires several important skills that work in tandem with each other. Some of these skills involve the way you speak or hold your body, and others are more emotionally based interpersonal skills. Here are a few skills that good communicators possess:
Active Listening: Clear communication begins with active listening. Active listening is a communication skill that involves going beyond simply hearing the words that another person speaks, but also seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them. It also makes the other person feel heard and valued. It requires being an active participant in the communication process.
Empathy: Empathic communication involves both accepting and allowing different perspectives and emotions in other people, and sharing perspectives and emotions with them, to enable encouragement and support. Empathising means both understanding and relating to someone else’s feelings. When you have empathy, it means you can understand what a person is feeling at a given moment and understand why other people's actions made sense to them.
Nonverbal Communication: Your nonverbal communication cues – the way you listen, look, move, and react – tell the person you’re communicating with whether you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they can generate tension, mistrust, and confusion. Facial expressions, gestures, posture, and tone of voice are powerful communication tools. Your tone of voice will improve your messaging and presentation skills.
Stress Management: when stress becomes constant and completely begins to take effect, it can affect communication, clarity of opinion, and appropriate behaviour and action. When you are under stress, you may misunderstand other people, send confusing nonverbal signals, and use uncharacteristic patterns of behaviour. If you improve stress management skills, not only will you avoid these subsequent regrets, but you will also be able to influence the other person with whom you are entering into a conflict.
Emotion Control: Making decisions more often affects the way you feel than the way you think. Guided by emotions, your nonverbal behaviour affects the understanding of other people and how others understand and perceive you.
If you are not aware of your feelings, you will not be able to express your needs and experiences. This can result in frustration, misunderstanding, and conflict. Control of emotions provides you with tools to understand others, yourself, and the messages you send.
Having strong communication skills can be of great benefit to you as a finance/mortgage broker. Great communicators are the ones who bring solutions, drive change, motivate and inspire – the value areas that brokers provide their clients.
Effective Communication is part of the Working with Clients module in the Business Finance Certification, a professional development program that helps position you as an SME Finance specialist, so you can help your clients succeed and prosper.
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