As anyone who owns their own business knows all too well, good communication and great networking skills are the foundation of business success. When you’re an entrepreneur, the most important weapon in your armory is your capacity to be able to communicate effectively with potential clients and investors. With this as a foundation, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.
The base of good communication is empathy. Many people feel like communication consists of being a good speaker, and being able to clearly get your point across. While that’s an important asset, the truth is that understanding and truly hearing the person across from you is the key to creating a bond. Really listen to them when they talk, make eye contact, and be aware of their body language. As you do so, analyze their communication style so that you can meet them halfway.
Different people have very different communication styles, and you need to be able to adapt to and empathize with them. When you’re in a meeting with an investor who is abrupt and to the point, you should follow their lead and use a clear, concise style of communication, to avoid annoying them with vague, superfluous details. Other people need to feel appreciated and included in a group, in which case you can provide reassurance, personal anecdotes, and warmth. Still others need to be won over with humor, while some people cannot begin a working relationship without a slowly built-up shared trust.
Each person you are dealing with will be different, and by using your powers of empathy and perception, you can adapt your communication style to theirs. By building up a strong link here, you’re laying the foundation for your future business relationship. Really take the time to understand your client or your investor, and always remain authentic and genuine.
When you’re following up on first meetings, sit down and think about the person for a minute or two before you call, rather than just thinking about your project. Remember their communication style and what you talked about together, and then pick up the phone. By being completely engaged with them, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off with the rapport you already established.
When you’re giving a speech or a presentation in front of an audience, this is the moment that all of your public speaking skills need to come to the forefront. Your body language is the most important part of the image you’re giving off – present yourself with confidence and ease, stand tall, and be sure of yourself. Smile frequently, and speak in an engaging manner. Rather than just telling your audience something, ask them a question, then answer it directly. Use humor. Keep them listening.
Once you have your audience engaged and involved, there’s no stopping you. As you present your project, they’ll be right there with you. The power of confidence and charisma is immense, and once you know how to broadcast it, the world is your oyster.
The life of an entrepreneur is a risky one – every day is a new, exciting adventure. By remaining authentic and genuine, and creating strong empathetic connections with your clients and investors, your solid foundation for networking can become the key to enormous business success.