Why Communication Skills Are Important in Business
In any company, people regularly interact with each other, which is an undeniably important part of the workflow. Proper communication allows people to see a common goal and understand each other’s needs and aspirations. Only through communication, employees of any company will be able to do something genuinely worthwhile together. This communication is becoming more important these days, as many companies move to the remote mode of work. They cannot meet every day and physically sense each other. Unfortunately, this can often lead to relationship breakdown and misunderstandings. In addition, with such broad opportunities for remote work, companies are formed from representatives of different countries and cultures. This makes the communication process even more relevant since it is more difficult for these people to understand each other. They have different outlooks on life, habits, and ways of interacting. Hence, careful communication is the key to the prosperity of any organization.
The importance of communication skills is emphasized by Ricardo Fernandez in his lecture Managing cross-cultural remote teams. He argues that in the context of business globalization, communication processes are gaining relevance (Fernandez, 2017). Fernandez gives an example of his company, which is built from people in five different time zones. All these people are representatives of different cultures and perceive the same information in entirely different ways. To facilitate communication, Fernandez pays a lot of attention to team building, since it is crucial that people understand each other. For example, realizing how difficult it can be for them to communicate with each other, he sent all employees a book on intercultural communication. This step was useful for the development of internal communication and helped employees find a common language.
Fernandez emphasizes the need to be open to different cultures. He lived in various countries of Europe, Africa, and America. Thanks to this, he communicated with hundreds of entirely different people over the years of his life. This allowed him to become non-judgmental about other people. He accepted the fact that every person and every culture is unique, they have dozens of different characteristics, and they must be respected. Fernandez uses this knowledge in his company and teaches subordinates to follow these principles. Through this, he builds warm, open, kind, and empathic relationships between employees. Even though they come from different places, they understand that they are engaged in common affairs, and the value of the contribution to the work of each of them is enormous.
Beyond communication skills, Fernandez stresses the need to build strong relationships even when working remotely. He argues that it is essential for people to feel part of the collective (Fernandez, 2017). Undoubtedly, this is not easy to accomplish when people cannot sense each other’s physical presence. That is why Fernandez suggests organizing meetings between employees at least several times a year. This will allow them to interact live, see each other, and become empathic. Thanks to this, more than just business relationships will be built between people. They will learn to understand each other, become real friends, and learn to support the team in any, even the most challenging situation.
In addition, the work process itself contributes to building relationships. It is important that people can continuously interact with each other. Usually, correspondence is not enough for this, so Fernandez constantly participates in video calls with his colleagues. Hence, people at least partially feel each other’s presence and get to know each other better. They will understand how emotional, outgoing, and open-minded their colleagues are. Such an acquaintance, even online, will allow them to feel like a part of the team and understand each of their colleagues’ values.
When working with subordinates and many other stakeholders, it is crucial to take into account the cultural, age, and gender characteristics of each person. In recent years, the problems of tolerance and equality have become particularly acute, which increases the importance of this issue (Maude, 2016). For instance, when dealing with people much older, it is necessary to show a greater level of respect and realize how well they manage technology. It is often much more convenient for older people to communicate orally than to correspond. Employees of any gender should also be treated with equal respect, and emphasis should be placed on their professional qualities. Together with openness and the ability to integrate into the team, these qualities play a critical role in how good employees they can be.
Issues of intercultural communication often cause particular difficulty. Representatives of Asian and European countries sometimes use completely different ways of interaction and work (Chen, 2017). Therefore, it is necessary to define certain rules and procedures for each of the parties at the very beginning of cooperation. Thanks to this, unnecessary disagreements and problems will not arise between people, which are now often encountered because of such a misunderstanding. It is also important to create a team, each member of which will be tolerant and open to interaction. People should understand that now a person from almost any country can master nearly any profession. Naturally, each has some particular characteristics, but this does not make them less professional (Mumby & Kuhn, 2018). Understanding this is the basis for productive and open communication in a professional environment.
Almost all of these skills are reflected in the lecture by Ricardo Fernandez. However, the most important thing for him is constant, open, and interesting interpersonal contact. Only thanks to this, his employees can learn to understand each other. In addition, he tries to interact with his team as often as possible and often learns new details about their cultural characteristics. Indeed, sometimes this leads to small misunderstandings, but in general, it allows him to become even more open-minded and build the most efficient and cohesive team.
Hence, building streamlined and transparent communication processes is an integral part of creating a good team. In the context of globalization, this becomes more useful. Even in a multicultural team, good managers can build relationships between people. However, this requires some effort, patience, and skill. It is vital to understand that each team member must be aware of the need for peer acceptance. Even if one culture is alien to another’s representative, one should not close eyes to this problem and express a negative attitude. Only after working through the issue will people find a common language and become much closer. This will allow them to work more efficiently and move faster towards a common goal. Undoubtedly, this is important not only within different work collectives but also within the entire humanity. There are so many ways and means of interaction now that people meet something and someone new almost daily. Thus, respecting and understanding the features of surrounding people is crucial for any modern person.
Chen, L. (2017). Intercultural communication. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.
Fernandez, R. (2017). Managing cross cultural remote teams [Video]. TED. Web.
Maude, B. (2016). Managing cross-cultural communication: Principles and practice. Macmillan Education UK.
Mumby, D. K., & Kuhn, T. R. (2018), Organizational communication. SAGE Publications.