The Most Valuable Skill in Business

 This is one of the most obvious but underrated skills...

This is one of the most obvious but underrated skills...

How do I get people to buy more of what I’m selling? How do I raise awareness of my business? How can I boost employee morale and keep my workers motivated?

There are some hurdles, all too common in business, that, no matter the industry, all business owners will deal with. In fact, it’s these problems, often encountered during the start-up phase of a business, that can set the course for success or failure.

But, there is an answer ... ‘effective communication’. Simple in theory, and yet so, painfully, easy to get wrong.

Communication plays such a vital role in business activity today that companies are willing to hire whole teams of public relations specialists. Their role? To maintain the businesses reputation and ensure a constant stream of supportive dialogue occurs between the company and its all-important stakeholders.

One only needs to remember the BP Oil Company’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010 to understand the damaging and ongoing effects of poor communication.

Never mind the $18.7 billion settlement that the company was forced to pay; by lying about the magnitude of the spill, showing an acute lack of empathy or care about the situation, and deflecting the blame onto other organisations, BP essentially miscommunicated its way onto the world stage. I’m sure they’ll tell you themselves, not all publicity is good publicity.

Whether business owners, managers or employees ourselves I’m sure we’ve all been in situations we’re communication was the only resolution.

It could be as simple as finding the courage to apologise to colleague or employee, but may sometimes be more complex, like finding the words to explain to your customers why you can no longer provide a product or service. Regardless, it’s more than clear that without effective communication businesses could never make progress.

It’s something we all need to be good at and something we all can work on. Think of some of the biggest problems facing your business right now. I think you’ll find that a bit of effective communication will always point you in the right direction towards future success.

This article was contributed by Joshua Stengert - an aspiring Public Relations practitioner, working hard to experience all he can in the corporate world and determined to make an impact through the power of communication. Coming towards the end of his university studies he's excited to step into, and make my mark on, the business community.