Communication is the base of human interaction. Whether the communication is spoken or shown through facial expressions and body language, we can express our thoughts and emotions easily. However, expressing our thoughts and emotions clearly or appropriately is the challenge that many face on a daily basis. Trying to communicate in the professional setting can just be another challenge factor that most do not know how to navigate. When you are conversing with a client, coworker, employee, or boss, you are not chatting about last night’s Dancing with the Stars episode (typically). However, there are always exceptions to any of the rules below. If you are very close with a client or boss, your behavior should not necessarily follow this.
What setting are you in?
The time and place of a business meeting make all the difference in how you should approach a conversation. If you are out first thing in the morning at a café in the city where French toast is $27, you should be more formal in your conversation with a client. If you are out late at night, having whiskey and sodas at the local bar, you can probably relax a little and untuck your shirt.
What does your expression and body language saying?
Your face always has an expression on it whether you aware and in control of it or not. You are portraying an emotion or thought to another person without even speaking. Your body language plays a part in how someone is perceiving your mood, thought, or even who you are as a person. Your body language should be calm and confident; while you’re facial expression can vary. If you are trying to make a hard business deal, you may want a stern, aggressive face. However, if you are just having a bi-weekly board meeting, you may just need to be relaxed and thoughtful. Learning to analyze your situation and company make these decisions easier.
Are you speaking with someone from a different culture?
With billions of people in the world spread miles and miles apart, what is appropriate in one location is not in another. You have to be sure that if you are discussing business with international clients or partners, you are sensitive to the words or signs that could be found offensive. For instance, even simply getting into a cab can be insulting in New Zealand. In America, as a passenger, you sit in the back seat. If you are travelling alone in New Zealand and sit in the back of the cab, you are thought to be too good to sit up front with the driver. It’s best to view another person’s culture before a meeting to ensure you make the right impression.
Do you know this person or group’s personality?
Are you familiar with you are speaking to? Besides just realizing the situation you are in and the differences in their upbringing, you always need to read their personality. Are they more serious or laid back? Do they enjoy humorous banter during a meeting or do they want to stick to the agenda? These are things that can help improve your relationship with the client.
Talking to people can be challenging in a professional setting because sometimes you only have one chance to make a good first impression. You need to be aware of the situation and who you are trying to do business practices with.