Communicate. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But it can also be tricky. If you communicate clearly, your message will come across as intended. If you don’t convey your message well and it is misinterpreted or misconstrued, that’s a whole other ball game.

There are some simple tricks to ensure that your communications with your customers are clear. The following tips will leave them wanting to continue to do business with you:

1. Listen Actively – Your clients don’t want to feel that they are wasting their time speaking with you. When you don’t participate in the dialogue, that is what they are effectively doing. To listen actively means that you are involved in the conversation, connecting with the other person by asking questions or paraphrasing and establishing a rapport.

2. Use positive instead of negative statements – It is human nature when dealing with a problem to simply point out what is wrong. What you may not realize is that your message is lost in the negative wording of what you are saying. People tend to stop hearing what you are saying to them when faced with negative input. They focus on the bad points instead of the good ones. Instead of telling them what they did wrong, couch your statement with a positive message, so they don’t become defensive. This way you will be able to get your message across.

3. If possible, do it in person. Talking on the phone or in person gets your message across in a personal and professional manner. Email may be taken in the wrong way and it is unprofessional to text when doing business. So much of the human communication experience is based on how the message is being transmitted and not just what is being transmitted.

Just as there are rules to positive communication, there are also no-no’s. Some of these include:

1. Interrupting –There is no faster way to tell a person you don’t value their input, which is not the message you want your customers to hear.

2. Double talk or jargon – Relying on industry jargon or phrases that can be taken in different ways transmits a message to your customer that you don’t think they are smart enough to “get it”. Simple, practical communication serves you better. Your customer gets your message and you are able to maintain a respectful relationship.

3. Imposing – When you are dealing with a customer, take into account their thoughts and concerns. Be aware of their personality and needs. By imposing your own, you are letting your customer know you don’t value them.

Creating a bond with your customer is one of the great joys of being an entrepreneur. Practice the art of positive communication and you will be rewarded with a loyal customer base.


image by kevindooley on Flickr